CHP officer James Claire said at the scene that the 31-year-old driver of a silver 2005 Ford Explorer truck was going east on 11th Street, between Banta and Bird roads, when it crossed over the yellow lines and drove several hundred feet in the wrong direction. Claire said the truck impacted head-on a red 2001 Ford Escort sedan in the left lane of westbound 11th Street traffic at 11:35 a.m.
“It looked like they both tried to swerve, but hit each other head-on,” Claire said.
Jon Cox, a mechanic at the nearby Infinity Auto Sales, said the sound of the impact was similar to a shotgun blast.
“I heard a loud boom and I ran out there to make sure everybody was alright,” he said. “I seen the car spin. I thought, ‘Oh s---,’ I never seen anything like that.”
Cox said he and another mechanic grabbed fire extinguishers to put out the flames coming out of the front of the crushed Escort.
Tracy Fire Division Chief Andy Kellogg said firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to cut out the driver of the Escort. The woman was flown by a Reach medical helicopter to Doctor’s Hospital in Modesto in critical condition with head injuries, Kellogg said.
The driver and passenger of the pickup were the 31-year-old woman and her 48-year-old mother, both of Stockton, Claire said. The two Stockton women reportedly refused medical treatment at the scene, but both were eventually taken by ground ambulance to San Joaquin General Hospital.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but Claire said alcohol and drugs were not suspected.
According to Janice Fistolera, who was driving behind the Explorer, the truck went into the oncoming traffic approximately 20 to 50 feet before impact.
“I kept thinking, ‘What are you doing?’” she said. “They were going so fast she hit the red car and it spun it into the air.”