Early morning commute traffic near the Highway 99 and 120 Bypass interchange was snarled early Tuesday morning after a tractor-trailer carrying 7,400 gallons of diesel fuel veered off the road and overturned.
According to the Lathrop Manteca Fire District, which provided the hazardous materials response for the incident, the truck was traveling southbound on Highway 99 at around 5 a.m. when it left the roadway just south of Austin Road and turned over on its side.
The driver suffered significant injuries in the crash, and responding crews put out the call for a hazardous materials response when it was discovered that the truck was leaking a significant amount of diesel fuel from its storage tanks – requiring at least two engine companies, an ambulance, a battalion commander and the district’s Rescue 30 unit to assess the situation and facilitate simultaneous triage and containment of the spill.
All southbound lanes of Highway 99 were temporary shut down while crews initially responded to the call, and were systematically opened up as work progressed at the site. The accident caused significant backups for southbound traffic, and impacted northbound commute traffic as drivers slowed to survey the scene as they approached the Highway 120 Bypass exit to travel westbound towards I-5 and ultimately, I-205 to the Bay Area.
While the vehicle came to rest near a pair of businesses that abut the highway, evacuation orders were not issued.
According to Lathrop Manteca Fire Battalion Chief Larry Madoski, the response that included the recently implemented Rescue 30 unit showcases the impact of Lathrop’s Measure C sales tax that allowed the district to purchase the vehicle – which is specially outfitted to handle large vehicle accidents and hazardous materials incidents.
Tuesday morning’s accident was the second involving a southbound tractor-trailer that left the heavily-traveled roadway in a single-vehicle accident in the last two weeks after a truck carrying grapes crashed through the guardrail on Highway 99 and came to rest on the Yosemite Avenue offramp earlier this month. That driver also sustained significant injuries in the crash, and the closure of the offramp and affected lanes snarled traffic for more than 12 hours.
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