GILROY -- California Highway Patrol investigators continue to sort through a deadly wreck where a big rig barreled into eight other cars on a stopped-up Highway 152 Monday evening, killing a motorist and forcing an overnight closure of the major artery between the Silicon and Central valleys.
It was strikingly similar to another major Bay Area crash earlier this month where an out-of-control big rig plowed into several cars and killed a driver on Highway 17 south of Los Gatos.
In Monday's instance, just before 5:25 p.m. a tractor-trailer was westbound on Highway 152 when it came upon traffic stemming from the red light at the intersection at Ferguson Road. The truck driver could not stop the rig in time and hit several vehicles, then lurched left into oncoming eastbound traffic, hitting several more vehicles, eight in all, according to the CHP.
The rig got entangled with a sedan and, as the rig continued off the roadway and into a field, pushed the sedan along with it, the CHP said. Both the trailer cab and the sedan caught fire.
Passersby pulled the rig driver from the burning cab, but the driver of the sedan died at the scene. The victim's identity was not immediately released pending notification of relatives.
Three of the drivers whose vehicles were hit by the rig suffered major injuries, while the others suffered minor to moderate injuries. A medical helicopter took at least one of the injured to the hospital. The motorists who survived the crash hailed from the Bay Area or Central Valley, identified as residents of Fremont, Fresno, Los Banos, Newark, San Jose and San Martin. All were wearing seat belts.
The rig driver, a 48-year-old Madera man, was treated for minor injuries and was not arrested or cited. The CHP said alcohol or drugs do not appear to have been a factor in the crash, which marked the Bay Area's second major accident involving a big rig this month.
Santa Cruz resident and San Jose State alum Daniel McGuire was killed July 10 on Highway 17 when the driver of a dirt hauler lost control, jackknifed, and crashed into several cars that had similarly slowed for traffic, renewing calls for banning large trucks on the highway during the morning and evening commute.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.