The driver of a semi-truck suffered major injuries when his vehicle collided with a pickup truck and veered off the freeway on Thursday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Traffic was snarled on southbound Highway 99 and the entrance to Turner Road was closed for several hours as a result.
The crash took place around 8:30 a.m., when the driver of a white Dodge Ram merged onto the freeway and made contact with the semi. Both vehicles slid for several hundred feet on the wet pavement and came to a stop when the tractor-trailer crashed into a Eucalyptus tree off the freeway, according to the CHP. The semi slid at a 90-degree angle across the highway before sliding off the road, police said.
A power pole was knocked out by the careening vehicles, according to authorities.
“There were no witnesses to the crash, but the semi in the accident was following another tractor-trailer and that driver reported hearing a scream over the CB radio before the truck went sideways,” said officer Mark Butler of the CHP. “It’s still under investigation, but we’re guessing the driver of the pickup was coming from the on-ramp when the crash took place.”
The driver in the Dodge pickup suffered only minor injuries, police said.
Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor, according to authorities.
Due to significant damage to the cabin, it took roughly 45 minutes for firefighters and paramedics to remove the driver from the wrecked tractor-trailer.
Emergency crews requested an air ambulance to transport the driver of the semi, but were denied due to poor weather conditions, said George Juelch, battalion chief for the Lodi Fire Department.
The semi driver suffered several deep lacerations and a severely broken left leg as a result of the crash. The driver, whose identity has not yet been released, is a white male who appeared to be in his mid-30s.
Two lanes of the highway were closed for several hours and emergency workers cleared the scene and investigated. Traffic delays were reported as far north as Elk Grove following the crash.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.