Big rig overturns on off-ramp | September 26, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - September 26, 2008

Big rig overturns on off-ramp

Firefighters use Jaws of Life to extricate driver trapped in cab

by Geoff Gillette

A big rig from ETS Trucking headed south on I-680 failed to maneuver the tight cloverleaf turnoff onto eastbound Sycamore Valley Road and overturned behind an office building in Danville around 3 p.m. Monday, injuring the driver slightly.

CHP Officer Steve Creel said the 2000 Peterbilt, driven by 32-year-old Robert Jones of Union City, smashed through the grass and trees, crossed the southbound I-680 on-ramp and then left the road on the west side. The truck rolled onto its side and slid into a couple of large pine trees in the parking lot of the office building at 790 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

"The driver was screaming when I got there, and since it was right next to the fire station the firemen were on the scene in minutes," said Ed Boersma who works in the building. "The driver stopped screaming within 10 minutes of the crash."

Several fire crews wet down the area due to a fuel leak from the crashed truck. Creel said around 15 gallons of diesel had to be cleaned up at the site. Paramedics immediately began trying to rescue Jones, who was pinned in the wreckage.

A CalStar rescue helicopter arrived on the scene within a half hour and stood vigil on the closed on-ramp while firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate Jones from the smashed cab.

The position of the truck as well as the condition of the driver, reportedly pinned from the waist down, slowed rescue efforts. After two hours, fire crews were able to pull Jones out through a hole cut into the back of the cab. After being placed on a backboard, the still conscious man was carried by firefighters to the waiting helicopter.

CalStar transported Jones to John Muir Medical Center, where he was treated for lacerations and bruising, and released.

The ramp from eastbound Sycamore Valley Road to southbound I-680 remained closed for just over three hours while workers cleaned up the fuel spill. The truck was carrying around 50,000 pounds of dirt, concrete and ground up asphalt for use on a construction site. Some spilled on the road but the majority spread across the shoulder where the vehicle rolled.

Creel said there were preliminary reports that Jones may have been making an emergency exit from the roadway due to mechanical problems but pending an interview and further investigation they are unable to determine a cause for the accident.