A 32-year-old woman was killed in a freak accident after a gravel truck tipped onto her car in Martinez, California, Monday afternoon, crushing her inside it, Martinez police and the California Highway Patrol said.
The woman was identified as Lindsey Combs. Family members say Combs' 4-year-old daughter ran out of the house and saw the accident in their driveway. Combs' fiancé was in the house at the time.
The accident happened at 820 Shell Ave around 1 p.m., when the truck was delivering gravel for the Shell Avenue sidewalk construction project. According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, a member of the JJR Construction crew asked Combs to move her car. Preliminary reports indicate that as soon as Combs got into her car, a truck trailer loaded with gravel tipped over, crushing her vehicle, Cal-OSHA said.
But truck driver Darryl Crockett told NBC Bay Area he had nothing to do with asking Combs to move the car. Crockett said he was about to drop a load of gravel and his trailer was very near the top of its lift. The last time he saw the car it was right next to the garage door, and when the truck tipped over, the car had moved 10 feet closer to the sidewalk putting it in harms way, he said.
Crockett said he has been delivering gravel for 30 years and never had a trailer tip over on him — until the tragic accident Monday.
JJR Construction says another worker asked Combs to move her car further away.
Contra Costa County Fire officials said the trailer's "dump capacity" being used on a hill may have caused some stability issues.
Both Martinez police and Cal-OSHA's American Canyon office are investigatiing the accident. San Mateo-based JJR Construction has been cited once in 2010 for a minor infraction, it's only citation in the past five years, Cal-OSHA said.
According to Travis Hagerthy, who witnessed the incident, at least three men, including himself and two construction crew workers, tried to help Combs before firefighters arrived.
"I started helping them dig, and I cut my foot a little bit on the broken glass," Hagerthy said. "I yelled at them to get a backoe up there." One of the men from the construction team used a backhoe to rip off the backdoor to the car.
"As far as I know she was either pulling in or backing up and the truck was pulling in to dump the gravel," Hagerthy said.
Hagerthy said that after construction crew members tried to rip off the backdoor, he look inside the car and found the woman "smashed." "It's horrible," he said.
Regina Simmons worked as a hair stylist with Combs at Sport Clips in Pleasant Hill.
"She was a beautiful mother, very happy," Simmons said. "She was in a good place in her life right now. This is very tragic."
Family and friends gathered at the scene of the accident Monday night to pay tribute to Combs, including some who grew up with her.
"She was sweet and loving and loved her daughter so much, always posting pictures and talking about her on Facebook," said her friend Jessica Dixon-Estes.
Responding to speculation from commenters on NBC Bay Area's Facebook page about whether a lawsuit would be filed, Combs' brother Rob Combs wrote: "A lawsuit won't bring my sister back, my niece's mother back, my mom's daughter back. Nothing will bring my sister back nothing at all."
A GoFund me page has been created to help the Combs family pay for funeral expenses.
NBC Bay Area's Gonzo Rojas and Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) March 23, 2015