9 car crash shuts down SR 99
A nine car collision on southbound State Route 99 just south of Avenue 16 brought busy holiday traffic to a standstill on the major route, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A series of secondary collisions farther north, due to the traffic backup, seriously injured two other people.
CHP Public Information Officer Greg Rodriguez said the collision happened just before noon on Saturday, in the construction zone area where widening and additional lanes are being added to accommodate growing traffic loads in the area.
“The incident remains under investigation.” Rodriguez said. “Initial reports indicate it was a series of rear end collisions with nine separate vehicles, likely due to the failure to notice traffic slowing ahead, unsafe speed and or distracted driving. Surprisingly there were only minor injuries in this multi-vehicle incident. The major injuries happened in the secondary collisions,” as vehicles approached and failed to slow for the stopped traffic in front of them.
The initial collisions brought both lanes of southbound traffic to a stop and caused traffic to back up for about four miles.
About 40 minutes later, a second series of higher speed collisions just south of Avenue 20 1/2 resulted in two people sustaining broken bones and other major injuries. “The secondary, more major collisions happened as emergency crews and multiple tow trucks were working to investigate and clear the first incident. Two people from those separate vehicles were Lifeflighted by helicopter to Community Regional Medical Center due to their injuries at that location,” Rodriguez said.
The major traffic incident shut down all southbound traffic on SR 99 until about 3:10 p.m. Roadway conditions were clear and dry at the time of collisions.
According to Rodriguez drivers need to allow plenty of time, slow down and limit distractions, especially during the times of increased traffic around the holidays. Speed, following too close or distracted driving can be deadly, he said. “It was really fortunate no one was killed in this multi vehicle collision.”