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CHP officer investigates runaway big rig on the Grapevine that smashed a CHP cruiser and flipped on its side, holding up holiday traffic.
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A Honda Pilot driven by a man from Eureka was struck by the CHP cruiser, after the cruiser had been struck by the big rig.
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An overturned big rig reached speeds of 85 miles per hour before crashing on Interstate 5, directly across from the CHP weigh scales near Mettler. Motorists had little to do to keep them occupied for an hour while the accident scene was cleared on Saturday, July 3.
By Gary Meyer
A California Highway Patrol (CHP) cruiser was hit by a big rig tractor-trailer on Interstate 5, Saturday, July 3, after the truck’s driver lost control on the Grapevine, reaching speeds of approximately 85 miles per hour.
Holiday traffic was snarled for hours as motorists exited their cars, wandering around on the freeway and climbing on top of their cars to try to see what was happening.
Big rig driver Guillermo Martinez, 47 of Hialeah, Florida could not slow his vehicle after the brakes caught fire at approximately 8:40 a.m. while he was traveling northbound, down the grade.
According to a CHP report about the incident, Officer Tony Christolear from the Fort Tejon station began to conduct traffic breaks in front of the runaway truck, in an effort to move traffic out of the big rig’s path.
Due to the truck’s excessive speed and brake failure, the 2000 Freightliner hit the rear of the CHP cruiser, causing the CHP vehicle to collide with a 2009 Honda Pilot, driven by Albert Ash, 66 of Eureka.
The Honda was forced from the number one lane, across all lanes and overturned on the right shoulder.
Officer Christolear’s vehicle was then hit a second time by the truck, causing the CHP cruiser to crash into the center divider, where it came to rest.
Martinez’s truck continued northbound for about another mile where he attempted to stop on the right shoulder. There, the CHP report states, he made an unsafe maneuver and his truck overturned on the right shoulder.
All three involved parties were transported to Kern Medical Center with moderate and minor injuries.
Kern County Fire Department responded to extinguish the brake fire.
All northbound lanes were closed for cleanup of spilled diesel fuel. Three of four northbound lanes were reopened at approximately 9:25 a.m. All lanes were open at 12:40 p.m.
This is part of the July 09, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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