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Will crash investigators determine if Chevy truck in Delray fatal crash had unexpected acceleration?

Posted at 5:37 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 19:21:49-04

Can car crash investigators find out if a Chevy truck accelerated on its own before hitting and killing four people inside a minivan Saturday night? Delray Beach Police detectives are gathering surveillance video of South Federal Highway before the impact. 

Using equipment, first responders had to pull the vehicles apart before they could even begin their rescue efforts. The driver of the Chevy Silverado told his attorney his truck accelerated to a high rate of speed and he couldn't stop before he slammed into the minivan.

Investigators could face a challenge determining if that's the case.

"It (truck's computer) could be compromised from the accident itself," said Bruce Jacobs, owner of Military Brake and Alignment Services in West Palm Beach. 

Jacobs has decades of experience working with Chevys at his shop. Ideally, he says, the best way to prove this happened is to witness it. 

"Every technician wants to see it happen and then you can do your best to plug in and try to figure it out. You're going in there blindfolded," said Jacobs. 

With a possibly totaled truck, crash investigators will have to use the truck's computer to determine how quickly it jumped to a high rate of speed and what caused the acceleration, the user or the computer.

Longtime Chevy Silverado drivers we spoke to said it has never happened to them.

"It takes time to build up," said Edgar Hernandez who explained the trucks have a gradual acceleration. 

"I've never had an issue like that," said Maurice Corrigan.

But, this has happened to other Chevy Silverado drivers.

Complaints on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website show one driver said the accelerator in his 2010 model depressed to the floor without warning and the motorist had to stop it by turning off the ignition.

Another driver said the truck lunged forward without warning and the malfunction was never replicated. 

Hernandez said it's important to keep up with recalls and take your truck in for maintenance.

"So far I've had two, one was for the injection system," said Hernandez about his 2014 truck. 

Jacobs said if you ever find yourself in a situation where your brakes won't work, there's a quick solution.

"Just turn the key off, it's going to turn the engine off and you'll slow down," said Jacobs. 

Both the driver of the pick-up truck, Paul Streater, and the passenger Tyler Fowler have not wanted to comment beyond what Streater's attorney has said about the truck's malfunction. 

The family of the victims has asked for privacy at this time. 

Delray Beach Police continue to ask for any video or witness accounts from people who saw the Chevy Silverado prior to the impact. 

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