Truck driver is alive after rig slides off highway and rolls, major injuries sustained

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FIELDS LANDING, Calif. (KIEM)-A semi-truck crash shut down Highway 101 southbound early this morning.

Public Information Officer Paul Craft with the California Highway Patrol, says by the looks of the cab of the truck, it could have been a worst outcome for the driver.

“Luckily the driver survived, suffered major injuries and was transported to the hospital,” said Craft.  

It happened about four o’clock Wednesday morning and caused Caltrans and CHP to shut down one lane of southbound Highway 101 for about hours.

“We got a report on the side of the road, we found out a big rig traveled off the road, was hauling 2x4s lumber then unfortunately it spilled on the side of the road causing some traffic delays this morning,” said Craft.

Crews worked diligently to clear the closed lane – but according to Rick Stewart – owner of Buddy’s Towing – this type clean-up is tedious and requires a lot of manual work – Joey Beeson agrees.

“We have about 1,600 boards to pick- up, so yeah, it’s going to be labor intensive,” said Beeson.

“The hardest part is that over the embankment, because it has to be lifted up by hand,” said Rick Stewart, owner of Buddy’s Towing. 

Stewart says, it was important to keep one lane open to traffic. For one, there are no detour alternatives, and secondly- closing both lanes is usually unsafe.

“There’s a 20% chance of an accident when the traffic is stopped,” he said. “If you go further than that, there’s a 20% chance that an accident back there will be a fatality, because people aren’t slowing down.

“They don’t know to slow down because it’s not really set up as a construction zone,” said Stewart.

Craft says, the North Coast is coming into the rain season – motorist should slow down. 

“We’ve had some wet weather, continue to drive safe and be careful out in the roadways,”

he said. “They’re slick and debris is falling on the roads.”

Both southbound lanes of Highway 101 thru Fields Landing has since reopened.