Division Chief Andrew Kellogg said the Tracy fire department was called shortly before 4:30 p.m.
about a vehicle accident at the gas station and shop at 574 W. Grant Line Road. Firefighters learned that the vehicle had driven through the front wall and into the building, followed by reports of a possible fire inside.
The pickup truck smashed through a section of corrugated steel siding to the right of the doors to the business. No skid marks could be seen in the parking lot in front of the damaged wall, but a concrete parking barrier had been torn out of place.
Kellogg said that when fire crews arrived, smoke was pouring from the front door and the hole left by the pickup truck.
A man driving the pickup was rescued by two passing motorists.
Fire crews began a search of the store in response to reports that someone might still be trapped inside the truck. Kellogg said no other person was found inside the truck or the building. A dog in the truck was rescued and turned over to Tracy Animal Control officers.
Fire crews found that the smoke inside the building was coming from the tires of the pickup truck. Kellogg said it appeared that the driver kept his foot on the accelerator as the truck became wedged in debris. As the tires spun, the rubber began to smoke. Fire crews doused the tires and brought out a shovel full of burning rubber from inside the store.
The driver was taken to an area hospital. The one person working inside at the time of the crash was not injured, Kellogg said.
Through the hole in the front wall, fishing tackle and poles could be seen strewn around the floor of the store, along with pieces of drywall and bits of glass. A storage area with cases of soft drinks could be seen through the hole punched in the interior wall.
Jim Decker, Tracy code enforcement officer, said the front of the building had moderate damage from the crash.
He said there was minor damage to a load-bearing section of wall, but it wouldn’t prevent use of the building.
Electricity was turned off to the building and gas pumps after the crash. Decker said that once the pickup truck was removed, crews would try to isolate and turn off an electrical outlet that had been damaged. He said power could then be restored to the rest of the building and the gas pumps.
Decker said the front wall and the interior of the building where the truck crashed through would be cordoned off.
The gas pumps in the parking lot were not damaged, Kellogg said.
Tracy Police Department Lt. Michael Vieira said Thursday that the crash did not appear to have been caused by a mechanical issue with the pickup truck, but the driver could have had a medical condition or might have been driving impaired. Vieira said the driver told police he remembered being parked and then nothing of the crash. The driver was taken to the hospital, where his blood was drawn to test for alcohol or drug use.
The speed of the pickup truck when it struck the outside wall of the building is unknown, but based on the smoking tires, Vieira said he believed the driver was going “full throttle” when he hit the wall.
Vieira said the crash is still under investigation.
• Contact Glenn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4252.