California Highway Patrol investigators have determined the series of events they believe occurred in Monday evening’s horrific pileup on the 120 Bypass just east of the South Main Street interchange that claimed the life of a 37-year-old Modesto motorist.
Those suffering major to minor injuries, in addition to the fatality, were motorists returning home to Turlock, Atwater, Modesto, Stockton and Salida.
The CHP reported that the multiple collisions began shortly after 5 p.m. when the driver of a white 2009 Chevrolet Traverse was traveling in the right lane of eastbound Highway 120, just east of the Main Street bridge.
The driver of a silver 2014 Chevrolet Sonic was traveling eastbound to the rear of the Traverse. The driver of a black 2008 Mercedes was to the rear of the Sonic. The driver of a blue 1991 Honda Accord was to the rear of the Mercedes.
The driver of a white Chevy utility pickup was to the rear of the Accord. All of these vehicles either slowed or were stopped for traffic ahead, according to the CHP. The driver of a 2014 Peterbilt big rig tractor trailer combination was traveling eastbound on the 120 Bypass in the right lane approaching the rear of the five other vehicles.
The driver of the Peterbilt attempted to slow or stop but impacted the rear of the Chevrolet utility pickup truck. The impact caused the utility pickup to collide with the rear of the blue Honda with enough force to cause the pickup to become airborne and land on its roof.
The Peterbilt continued forward and ran over the blue Honda inflicting immediate fatal injuries to the driver. The blue Honda was pushed forward into the rear of the black Mercedes causing the Mercedes to overturn. The blue Honda then landed on the south side of the roadway where it began to catch on fire.
Prior to the black Mercedes rolling over, it struck the rear of the silver Chevrolet Sonic causing the Sonic to roll over. Prior to the silver Sonic rolling over, it collided with the white Chevrolet Traverse. The Peterbilt tractor trailer “jack knifed” and came to rest on the south side of the roadway.
Several drivers who witnessed the collision or were in the area stopped to render aid to the parties involved in the crashes and, using fire extinguishers, were able to prevent the Honda’s fire from spreading.
All eastbound traffic lanes were closed for about three hours to facilitate the investigation.
CHP officers said the investigation is ongoing and it is unknown if alcohol, drugs or distracted driving were factors in the collisions.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.