It took more than a day to repair the damage from a fatal head-on collision in Placer County, California, that took the lives of both the drivers involved and set Highway 20 ablaze. The truck accident was only one of many that have occurred in recent weeks in California, where frequent commercial truck crashes are a reminder of the deadly dangers on the state’s roadways.
As Many As 15,000 Gallons of Fuel Spilled in Fatal Placer County Truck Crash
January 31, 2018
California Highway Patrol (CHP) continues to investigate a head-on collision between a tow truck and a tanker truck in Placer County that led to two fatalities and an explosion and flames on Highway 20.
The incident occurred at approximately 10:00 a.m. as the commercial vehicles traveled on Highway 20 about six miles from Interstate 80. Investigators believe that the tow truck, which was owned by Kilroy Towing, was traveling north when it swerved into the southbound lane for unknown reasons and into the path of the oncoming tanker truck.
Kent Kilroy owns Kilroy’s Towing and said that he had employed the tow truck driver involved in the accident for between six and seven years. The driver was on his way to a call when the truck crash in Placer County happened. Both he and the driver of the tanker truck, which was owned by Williams Tank Lines, were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities did not identify either victim.
The crash left emergency responders with not only fatalities, but a fiery mess.
“We had multiple explosions both from the commercial tow truck and the commercial fuel truck,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Bryan Farrell said in a statement to KCRA. “We had to coordinate resources to make access from both directions due to both the impact on the roadway and the effects of the fire on responding resources.”
Reports on the quantity of gasoline the tanker was carrying vary, with some sources saying it spilled between 12,000-15,000 gallons. Williams Tank Lines, however, estimates that there were 8,400 gallons contained in the vehicle.
CalFire determined the best plan of action was to let the gasoline burn up, though the blaze did burn away portions of the pavement on Highway 20.
“Burning up the product just like it would in a wood fireplace, anything else,” CalFire Battalion Chief Bryan Ferrell told Fox40. “The more product that burns it allows all that contaminate to be disseminated into the air instead of in the ground.”
It took 35 hours for crews to repair the damaged sections of road, which reopened the day after the Placer County truck crash. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife assessed the area on February 2, 2018, to figure out how much environmental damage was sustained in the incident.
Overturned Big Rig Brings Long Beach Traffic to a Halt
January 30, 2018
A section of roadway connecting the 710 and 405 freeways in Long Beach was closed for nearly six hours after a semi-truck overturned. Authorities have not said what caused the vehicle to flip onto its side.
CHP officials say that the semi, which was the only vehicle involved in the accident, was moving from the northbound 710 freeway and attempting to enter the 405 freeway southbound when it overturned at approximately 12:30 a.m.
The semi-driver sustained no injuries in the crash, but cranes were necessary to right the big rig, and it took crews until just before 6:00 a.m. to reopen the area.
Semi-Truck Collides with Pillar, Strewing Cheese Across I-5
January 26, 2018
A tractor-trailer with a load of shredded cheese slammed into a pillar and caught fire in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles, spilling its edible cargo and diesel fuel on Interstate 5. Investigators do not know why the semi struck the pillar on Penrose Street at approximately 3:40 a.m., but have confirmed that only the semi was involved in the accident.
The driver was taken to an area hospital for the treatment of injuries sustained in the crash, but the Los Angeles Fire Department said he was in good condition.
All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed in the area of the crash until approximately 9:20 a.m. CalTrans was also called to the scene to inspect the pillar that was hit, and a hazardous-materials team responded as well.
31-Year-Old Man Struck and Killed by Semi in Menifee
January 20, 2018
A Winchester man who was walking in the right-most southbound lane of the 215 Freeway near Keller Road in Menifee was hit and killed by a semi-truck at approximately 6:00 a.m.
The man, since identified as 31-year-old Jacob Muckelrath, was walking north, into oncoming traffic on the freeway, when he was struck by a 2016 International Tractor/Trailer. Muckelrath was thrown from the road and landed on the shoulder. Emergency responders took him to Inland Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1:46 p.m.
Officials say that the driver of the big rig, a 26-year-old man from San Diego, pulled off the freeway after the incident and waited for CHP to arrive.