Family remembers 82-year-old man killed on Highway 101 in Palo Alto

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Caltrans believes a piece of metal from one of its trucks may have killed an elderly man Friday in Palo Alto. A metal object about the size of a baseball shot through the windshield on Highway 101.

RELATED: Caltrans object struck man before fatal crash on Highway 101

It's a bizarre and tragic accident according to CHP, Caltrans, and the victim's family members. Those people who knew 82-year-old Louis Schaefer best say he was full of life.

Investigators with California Highway Patrol say a preliminary investigation revealed an endcap is from a Caltrans water truck. It is the size of a baseball and approximately
two to three pounds.

It pierced the windshield of his vehicle Friday on northbound 101, hitting Schaefer in the neck and killing him.

"Came as a total surprise and shock to everybody," said Kathy Kermit.

Kermit says she was married to Schaefer seven years and remained friends with him after they divorced.

"He had many, many friends he was very, deeply spiritual," she said.

Kermit says Schaefer had three children adding that he was a "wonderful father and family man."

A statement outside a family member's home offers their gratitude to the drivers who pulled over, the coroner's office and CHP for their compassion and professionalism.

"It's very unusual it's very tragic," said CHP Officer Art Montiel.

It was CHP investigators who realized a Caltrans water truck was pulled over on southbound 101 around the time of the accident.

"We were advised one of the tires blew out and that's why they were stopped on the side of the freeway," said Montiel.

Caltrans spokesperson Myeast McCauley said, "This was an isolated event that happened and we're working with CHP to learn how this device came from that Caltrans truck."

Caltrans has offered its condolences to Schaefer's family and friends.
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