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Big rig plows 7 cars

Meth, cell phone use are alleged factors in Flag City truck crash; no injuries reported

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Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 12:00 am

FLAG CITY — A big rig crashed into seven parked cars Monday after the driver, who was allegedly high on methamphetamine and talking on a cell phone, fell out of the cab while turning a corner.

Robert Lee Michael Jr., 39, apparently wasn't wearing his seat belt, either, though that traffic infraction is likely the least of his legal woes.

Around 9:20 a.m., the Modesto resident left northbound Interstate 5 onto eastbound Highway 12, said California Highway Patrol Officer Angel Arceo. Michael turned right and then made an immediate right turn onto Thornton Road, a common route for truck drivers taking a break while traveling.

He was traveling around 35 mph when his door, which apparently wasn't latched properly, opened, Arceo said.

Michael began to fall out of the truck, and jerked the wheel further to the right as he fell.

The truck veered off the road, just missed a pole and crashed through a fence into the adjacent Park & Ride lot.

It came to rest only after damaging seven cars, whose carpooling owners were nowhere in the area.

A tow truck hauled the big rig away, and also moved the damaged cars back within parking stall lines in the 35-space lot, Arceo said. Some vehicles had significant damage, including a burgundy Dodge Durango whose passenger side was smashed, along with the driver's side rear bumper. The collision shattered one window, scattering shards of glass across the Winnie the Pooh floor mats.

By 6 p.m., the unlucky owner had yet to discover the damage.

CHP investigators documented the harmed vehicles and placed notes with a case number on the cars.

As for Michael, he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and being under the influence of a controlled substance. He could also be cited for the seat belt violation, as well as using a cell phone without a hands-free device.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 10:18 am on Tue, Feb 2, 2010.


    Oh well...not only is he in jail but now he's jobless!So I guess that means we'll be taking care of him for a while?

  • posted at 5:14 am on Tue, Feb 2, 2010.


    carlos wrote on Feb 2, 2010 7:58 AM:" At least this trucker didn't kill anyone. Good thing he had the accident at low speed and not while he was still on I-5. "...or headed down HWY 12.

  • posted at 1:58 am on Tue, Feb 2, 2010.


    At least this trucker didn't kill anyone. Good thing he had the accident at low speed and not while he was still on I-5.

  • posted at 1:02 am on Tue, Feb 2, 2010.


    Twenty-plus years ago, I was a meth user. I remember once mixing the drug in with my cat's food. Man, talk about crazy...that cat was bounding off the walls in my east Lodi apartment for a good two hours. When I finally let him out, he jumped one of those low-height cyclone fences in the neighborhood and attacked a pit-bull!! The next day, my cat and I stopped using meth for good.

  • posted at 9:39 pm on Mon, Feb 1, 2010.


    Now that's what I call in-depth reporting!

  • posted at 8:31 pm on Mon, Feb 1, 2010.


    I hope the owner of the Dodge Durango is also cited for unlawful use of Winne The Pooh floor mats. How uncool is that?



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