California Highway Patrol (CHP) has moved drivers to Highway 46 and 166 after mudslides forced the closure of Highway 101 in the Montecito and Santa Barbara areas. That increased traffic has led to truck crashes on Highway 166—a highway with limited passing opportunities—just one of the areas where semi accidents occurred in California over the last week.
Victim of Santa Maria Truck Crash Airlifted with “Major Injuries”
January 11, 2018
A semi-truck played a role in a crash involving at least five cars on Highway 166 near Rock Front Ranch, though officials have yet to release full details on the crash.
The incident came not long after Caltrans urged drivers displaced by the Highway 101 closures not to use Highway 166, instead asking them to choose Highway 46, which has more lanes and was less traveled at the time. Highway 166 has a reputation as a dangerous roadway, with limited shoulders, many curves and narrow lanes that make passing a risky endeavor.
The truck crash in Santa Maria took place just before 8:30 p.m. and involved at least five vehicles, though some witness accounts say it was eight vehicles involved. Emergency personnel from CHP, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department were all dispatched to the accident scene, with multiple ambulances and a CalStar medical helicopter.
One unidentified female victim was severely trapped within the wreckage of her vehicle, and had to be extricated by first responders before being airlifted to an area hospital for treatment of a “liver laceration, multiple rib fractures, a ruptured spleen and a fractured pelvis.” The same victim was traveling with two dogs inside her vehicle, and a witness helped catch one of the dogs after it fled the scene of the crash. Both animals are now under the care of animal control.
The only details released on the semi-truck involved are that it weighed approximately 54,000 pounds with cargo and that its tires were flat and its rims damaged.
Authorities have not said how many individuals suffered injuries in the multi-vehicle Santa Maria truck crash, but at least two people are believed to have sustained moderate injuries. One report indicated that a driver who crossed a double yellow line section of Highway 166, likely in an attempt to pass, caused the accident.
Highway 166 Closed After Semi-Truck Rollover
January 15, 2018
A semi-truck complicated long weekend traffic just four days after the Santa Maria truck crash. The tractor-trailer was traveling westbound on Highway 166 near New Cuyama, at approximately 12:09 p.m., when it lost control and rolled over.
Emergency personnel from police, fire and medical departments were once again dispatched to the area with a CalStar helicopter accompanying them, though officials discovered no injuries were sustained in the crash.
Officials closed one lane of the highway as they investigated the crash and removed the vehicle. They believe that the driver veered off the road before overcorrecting and that the overcorrection caused the truck to roll onto its side.
Box Truck Loses Control; Crash Closes Highway 166
January 10, 2018
A separate truck incident occurred on Highway 166 on January 10, 2018.
CHP says a box truck carrying a load of egg crates was traveling westbound at an excessive speed at 6:40 a.m. in wet conditions. The driver lost control of the box truck and it rolled over before being hit by an eastbound vehicle that could not stop in time to avoid it. A semi-truck traveling eastbound also crashed into the box truck.
One minor injury was reported in the accident.
FedEx Truck Slams into Hotel Near LAX
January 16, 2018
Three people were injured when a FedEx delivery truck careened into the restaurant of the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel with diners inside.
The crash occurred at approximately 6:10 p.m. at the 9620 Airport Boulevard hotel. An initial police investigation into the incident revealed the FedEx truck driver was likely attempting to avoid colliding with something when he veered into the wall of the hotel restaurant. A separate FedEx employee said in a statement that the driver of the delivery truck had swerved to avoid a driver making an illegal turn.
Guests inside the hotel were uncertain what had happened, initially fearing that a bomb had gone off.
“There was a lot of panic, and the person who was checking me in ran in to make sure everything was okay,” Chris Hellewell, who was checking into the Renaissance Hotel at the time, said in an interview with CBS Los Angeles. “These days there’s always thoughts of, ‘Was it deliberate? Was it a bomb?’ or something.”
Kevin Secula was inside the restaurant and had a similar thought after the impact.
“We thought it was a bomb because the whole inside of the bar blew in and a whole bunch of the bar blew in and a whole bunch of glass dust came flying at us,” Secula told CBS Los Angeles.
Only one person inside the hotel suffered injuries in the incident, but both the FedEx truck driver and a passenger who was assisting him sustained minor injuries. The driver elected not to go to the hospital for treatment and instead resumed his delivery route in a different vehicle. The passenger and victim from within the hotel were both transported to an area hospital.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Two Semis Involved in Lerdo Highway Crash
January 16, 2018
CHP officials were forced to shut down two lanes of southbound Highway 99 after an accident involving two big rigs near Lerdo Highway.
Officials believe that a southbound semi-truck transporting a load of corn flour moved onto the shoulder on the right side of the road at approximately 9:30 p.m. and was subsequently struck from behind by another semi-truck transporting cattle feed.
Investigators have yet to determine an official cause of the crash, but believe that it is possible that the big rig that was pulled on the shoulder may not have been completely out of the roadway.
CHP closed two lanes of the Highway for almost eight hours while they cleaned up the debris from the crash and investigated the incident. The driver who rear-ended the semi-truck pulled onto the shoulder was transported to the hospital for the treatment of minor injuries.