Tom Mauk, the former CEO of Orange County has been identified as the driver of a Cadillac Escalade that hit a stalled Toyota Prius on the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar this past Sunday, killing two people, according to ABC News.
According to a preliminary report, Thomas Mauk, 69, rear-ended a disabled vehicle on the 57 Freeway near Diamond Bar late Sunday. Anubhai Patel, 67, and his wife, Shardaben Patel, 68, were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash. The Anaheim couple died from their injuries, according to the L.A. Times.
The Whittier Daily News provided a very comprehensive breakdown of how the accident occured:
There were sitting in a disabled 2006 Toyota Prius in the No. 3 lane, which was struck from behind by a 2008 Cadillac Escalade being driven by Thomas Mauk, 69, of Whittier, California Highway Patrol Officer C. Chen said in a written statement. Mauk’s wife was riding as a passenger in the SUV, which was traveling at about 60 mph in the carpool lane prior to the collision.
The Escalade had changed lanes from the carpool lane to the No. 1 lane, then again to the No. 2 lane, Chen said. Mauk then looked in his rear view mirror and behind him to check for traffic as he began transitioning into the No. 3 lane. Traffic was light at the time and conditions were dry, officials said.
“As he completed the lane change to the No. 3 lane, he looked ahead and observed a stopped vehicle in the No. 3 lane directly ahead of him,” Chen said.
The Whittier Daily News also reported that “Two dogs were inside Mauk’s SUV at the time of the crash, Dulong said. A puppy inside the SUV was OK, while the second dog could not be found.”
Something like this almost happened to me, over twenty years ago, on the same stretch of the southbound 57 Freeway – which is very dark (around the Pathfinder exit). I was driving home, late, in the fast lane, going the speed limit, listening to an Angels baseball game on the radio. I remember I was sipping on a milkshake and all of a sudden I saw ahead of me a Mercedes Benz with no lights on, sitting there in the fast lane. It appeared to be empty. I pulled to the lane to my right but the guy behind me had been tailgating me and he hit the stalled car full on. It was a terrible accident – and to make matters worse his car careened sideways and got hit by another car.
Mauk resigned as O.C. CEO after the Carlos Bustamante sex crimes scandal, last year. Mauk was previously city manager in Norco, La Habra and Whittier.
We wish Mauk and his wife a speedy recovery.