STOCKTON (CBS13) – The California Highway Patrol is still investigating a tanker truck explosion in Atwater on Tuesday. The driver, identified as Kamkyo Ramon Gnotsavath, died after his truck caught fire near Highway 99.
“We got shocked, we don’t believe it,” said Niki Gnotsavath, the driver’s niece.
She recounted the terrible news she got on Tuesday that her uncle had died in the explosion.
She told CBS13 her 57-year-old uncle had been driving trucks for more than 10 years. We looked at his driving record on Quick Transport Solutions’ website and found no violations attributed to him.
“You work this kind of job, you have to be really calm driving,” Niki said. “He drives really slowly but the way it happened, we shocked. We don’t believe it.”
Gnotsavath lived in Hughson and worked as a driver for Williams Tank Lines, a company based in Stockton. A former co-worker told CBS 13, he started working there about 5 or 6 years ago. The company declined our request for an interview.
We pulled the company’s record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Williams Tank Lines received a satisfactory safety rating. However, in the last two years, their trucks have been involved in 22 crashes: 5 involving injuries and 2 of them fatal.
Niki says her family hasn’t spoken to the company yet.
“We cannot accept what happened,” she said. “We don’t know what to do.”
CHP says their investigation is currently focused on the driver and they have not looked into the company yet. They also say commercial units from Fresno are stopping by terminals to make sure the truck itself did not have problems prior to the incident.