Driver trapped but unharmed by crash
by Glenn Moore
Jan 16, 2014 | 10815 views | 3 3 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rollover accident closes Highway 33
A big-rig tow truck pulls a tractor trailer up as Tracy fire and American Medical Response ambulance crews work to free the driver trapped in the cab of the overturned truck  after a crash on Highway 33 on Wednesday, Jan 15.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The driver of a tractor-trailer was trapped for almost an hour in the wreckage of his truck Wednesday, Jan. 15, after it overturned at Highway 33 and Durham Ferry Road.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Adam Shelton said said the 1995 Kenworth tractor-trailer was heading south on Highway 33 shortly before 6 p.m. when it struck a BMW sedan traveling west on Durham Ferry Road. The BMW had just left a stop sign at the highway intersection when it was struck, the tractor-trailer tearing a section off the front of the sedan.

The tractor-trailer, pulling a flatbed with a single section of concrete pipe, veered off the road, jackknifed and overturned, blocking the northbound lane of the highway.

The 57,000-pound concrete pipe was thrown from the trailer and bounced along the highway, gouging sections of asphalt before rolling into weeds on the west side of the road.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 23-year-old man from Vallecito, was trapped in the cab, which was crushed when it rolled over.

Division Chief David Bramell said three Tracy Fire Department engines and the ladder truck were sent to rescue the driver.

The crew from Station 93, a block away from the accident, was first on scene and found the undercarriage of the tractor-trailer on fire.

Bramell said they extinguished the fire and then started trying to free the driver from the twisted wreckage.

“Most of the driver was not visible in the wreckage — we could only see his torso,” Bramell said. “The fact that the cab was still attached to the trailer made it difficult to push or move.”

Crews spent 50 minutes pulling and cutting the cab apart to reach the driver. Bramell said freeing him required all the tools at their disposal. “The sheer amount of equipment we had to use made it one of the most complex extrications in some time.”

Crews used stabilizing bars and wooden cribbing to prevent the cab from shifting and collapsing further. They tried to use air bags to raise the cab, but its weight made that impractical, Bramell said.

Eventually, a big-rig tow truck lifted the remains of the cab high enough to allow the driver to be pulled free.

A fourth fire engine was called to set up a landing site for a helicopter, which flew the driver to an area hospital.

Shelton described injuries to both drivers as minor: cuts, bruises and scrapes.

Bramell said Caltrans assessed the damage to the roadway from the concrete pipe. The westbound lanes of Highway 33 were opened shortly after 8:30 p.m. and the entire highway was reopened at 9:45 p.m.

No other cars were involved in the crash or damaged by the section of pipe.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

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January 22, 2014
This happened right next to my house. It's crazy how many accidents we see. Thank God no one was seriously injured!
January 18, 2014
Well, the game a chicken ended with a totaled car and and a "party most at fault" on the ole driving record. Hwy 33 doesn't have stop signs but, Durham Ferry Road does and it's for good reason.

From the Calif. Vehicle Code:

"21802. (a) The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety."

Be safe folks. A saved few seconds isn't worth a life.
January 16, 2014
That is kind of a sketchy intersection. There is zero room for error if you are on Durham Ferry and are crossing 33. I have to wonder though how someone manages not to see a truck that massive coming down the road.

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