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Chain-reaction pile-up halts westbound I-80 at Yuba Gap

12:37 AM, Mar 19, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Chain-reaction pile-up halts WB I-80 in the Sierra

  • Poor visibility and snow prompt the closure of Interstate 80 again in the Sierra Sunday

PLACER COUNTY, CA - A huge traffic wreck in the Sierra that involved more than a dozen vehicles and six big rigs shut down parts of Interstate 80 for hours Friday, say authorities.

The crash was first reported at 1:29 p.m. just west of Yuba Gap, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Cal Fire says one person died and four were transported to hospitals. Another 10 have minor to moderate injuries that didn't require hospitalization.

Emergency responders said a big rig jackknifed, blocking both lanes. A truck following couldn't stop in time and plowed into the semi, causing it to overturn. Cars following piled into each other, one after another.

The driver in one of the first trucks told News10 he heard the sound of metal hitting metal for five minutes after the first impact.

One of the involved vehicles was a tanker carrying hydrogen. It partially jack-knifed and was hit but wasn't pierced and no hydrogen leaked, officials said.

Cal Trans cleared the right side of the highway around 7 p.m. so that dozens of motorists stuck behind the wreck could move. For the next few hours CHP officers let traffic through when possible, but the road was frequently shut down so that wreckers could clear damaged vehicles from the scene. Traffic finally was able to move freely around 11 p.m.


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