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Fiery Big Rig Crash Shuts Down Interstate 80

CROCKETT (CBS SF) -- A fiery crash involving a big rig carrying a load of pineapples crashed on Interstate 80 near the Carquinez Bridge early Friday, shutting down the eastbound lanes of the busy highway for several hours, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol responded to the crash at the Pomona Street off ramp in Crockett at around 1:20 a.m.

The CHP said it appeared the driver – a 29-year-old Hayward man -- allowed his 2013 Volvo big rig to drift towards the divider that separates the Pomona Street off-ramp and I-80.

The big rig slammed into the divider, overturned and then burst into flames. The unconscious driver was pulled from the burning big rig by Good Samaritan, who took him to a safe location and provided CPR.

"He (the Good Samaritan) said he was driving behind the truck and observed the accident," said CHP Sgt. John Koven. "Once he saw it was pretty major, he got out, checked to see if the driver was okay. When he did that that's when the truck started to ignite, becoming on fire very slowly. He dragged him out of the cab and provided CPR at that time."

The CHP said the Good Samaritan then told CHP officers and firefighters he needed to get on his way and left the scene. Meanwhile, the truck driver suffered serious injuries was taken to John Muir Hospital for treatment. His condition was not immediately known.

The impact of the crash and the fire left the highway littered with debris and fuel. Caltrans crews said the cleanup would take hours and as of 5:30 a.m. only one lane was open.

The CHP was advising morning commute drivers to seek other routes. All eastbound lanes would likely not be open until 10 a.m. or later.

Unfortunately, while traffic control was being conducted due to the backup caused by the burning big rig, a 67-year-old Fairfield man failed to safety slow down and drove his 1999 Toyota Camry directly into the back of a stopped truck.

He was life-flighted to Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo where he was pronounced deceased. The Contra Costa Costa County Sheriff's Coroners office will be handling the release of the identity of the male driver killed in the second collision.

Alcohol or drugs were not believed to be a factor in the collisions, but both were still under investigation. If anyone witnessed them or the events leading up to them, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980.


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