Big rig’s tumble snarls Peninsula traffic

Even though he was parked almost 200 yards away, Nader Moavenian’s car was one of four vehicles damaged when a big rig overturned and burst into flames just before 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Moavenian’s Nissan Maxima was parked in the shade outside Globalware Solutions when one of the truck’s right front tires — propelled by the crash — smashed into the trunk of his car and shattered the adjacent office window.

“That was quite a distance it traveled. I still don’t know how it happened,” Moavenian said.

The accident occurred when a Trevis Berry Transportation truck carrying approximately seven pallets of cardboard swerved out of control on southbound U.S. Highway 101 at the Woodside Road overpass in Redwood City, crashing into the center divide and landing on its right side before bursting into flames, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Parsons.

Two people were hurt in the accident, both of them women injured by flying debris while traveling northbound in a silver Lexus sport utility vehicle. The driver was airlifted to Stanford Medical Center with serious injuries and the passenger was taken by ambulance to Stanford with minor injuries.

A second car, a Toyota Camry, was struck by debris, but the lone occupant was not injured.

The recently hired driver of the truck, 50-year-old Carlos Velasquez — who was able to walk away from the crash with his passenger — said he lost control in the right-most lane, swerved and braked to avoid hitting a small car, and then crashed into the center divide.

The accident resulted in massive traffic congestion along the Peninsula, as cars backed up for miles after the accident. Hours later, southbound 101 took on an eerie post-apocalyptic feel when CHP efforts to divert traffic away from the site left long stretches empty at rush hour. Southbound motorists were forced to exit the freeway andnavigate surrounding streets.

All eight lanes of the highway were closed just after 1 p.m. to allow the Life Flight helicopter to land. By 2 p.m. all but the left-most lane on the northbound side were open but southbound lanes were still mostly closed. A single southbound lane was open intermittently between 1 and approximately 5:30 p.m. as Caltrans and towing crews worked to remove the charred husk of the truck. All lanes were reopened around 5:30 p.m.

Foster City resident Phil Wong was one of hundreds of drivers trapped in line as crews worked to clear the road. His onboard navigation system’s estimate of an 8-minute drive to Palo Alto was off by approximately 90 minutes.

The owner of the Gilroy-based trucking company, Trevis Berry, said the driver was traveling to Santa Clara from South San Francisco, and Velasquez was being shown the ropes after his recent hiring.

Although this is not his company’s first accident, Berry said, it was disturbing because of the severity of the injuries suffered by the other motorists.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Staff writer Tara Ramroop contributed to this report.


Were you affected by yesterday’s accident?

Share your comments below.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read