A semi truck driver approaching the construction zone on northbound State Route 99 just north of Avenue 12 swerved to avoid slowing traffic, went off the right shoulder Wednesday morning and ended up overturned on the adjacent railroad tracks, according the California Highway Patrol.
CHP public information officer Greg Rodriguez said the 8:30 a.m. incident briefly brought northbound traffic to a standstill, blocked the Union Pacific train traffic for several hours and created a hazardous material spill when a corrosive liquid began leaking from the contents of the overturned truck.
“The driver, a 55 year-old man from Compton sustained minor injuries,” Rodriguez said. “It was a two-axle, fully loaded smaller semi Hino (cargo truck similar to a moving van.) He was reported going northbound at 55 mph in the number two lane when he suddenly encountered slower traffic, steered off the shoulder, lost control, went through the ditch, and overturned the truck on it’s side across the railroad tracks about a quarter mile north of Avenue 12.” he said.
The wreck created quite a scene as passing motorists stopped and attempted to break out a side window to help the driver exit the truck in case a train was approaching the area.
After the initial crash, traffic on northbound SR 99 remained moving and Avenue 12 traffic was not affected at all, according to Rodriguez. CHP commercial officers remained on the scene until about 2:45 pm.
The roadway conditions were clear and dry according to Rodriguez. “It was operator error and too fast for conditions. There was heavy traffic at that time (of the morning) and then in a construction zone. It was fortunate no other vehicles were involved and that no one (else) was injured,” Rodriguez said.
The incident remains under investigation. Union Pacific train traffic was halted for several hours as train crews waited for the semi truck cargo to be stabilized and then removed. No damage was found to the railroad tracks.