Big Rig Driver Found Dead in Truck on Grapevine ID’d as 51-Year-Old Madera Man

The 5 Freeway remained closed through the Grapevine early Dec. 27, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

The 5 Freeway remained closed through the Grapevine early Dec. 27, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

A big rig driver who was found dead inside his truck on the snow-packed Grapevine has been identified.

Michael Jean Forgues, 51, was the man whose body was found Thursday morning inside his big rig near Lebec along the 5 Freeway, KTLA sister station KGPE in Fresno reported.

Forgues, from Madera, was identified by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon.

A tow truck driver responded to a big rig stopped on the southbound 5 Freeway just north of Frazier Mountain Park Road at 8:25 a.m. Thursday and found the driver unresponsive, according to CHP spokesman Anthony Dalton.

For an unknown reason, the driver of the 2017 Freightliner big rig was found unresponsive in the rear of the cab, CHP said. The death appeared to be consistent with a possible medical emergency, according to the Highway Patrol.

An exam will be done to determine his cause of death, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Two major routes into Southern California reopened Friday after they were closed for nearly two days after a winter storm dumped heavy snow over the Grapevine and the Tehachapi and Cajon passes, officials said. The 101 Freeway was the only route into the Los Angeles area for much of Thursday and Friday morning.

Another major storm is expected to hit the region Sunday night, and Caltrans is warning roads could be affected again.

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