It was a busy day for the California Highway Patrol’s Merced area office on Tuesday as officers responded to two big rig crashes on Highway 99.
The most recent crash was reported at 2:15 p.m. on southbound Highway 99 near Le Grand. That crash involved two big rigs and a car near Sandy Mush Road.
According to CHP, Brad Lazzareschi, 42, of Chowchilla, was driving a 1999 Kenworth big rig southbound on Highway 99 at about 55 mph in the No. 2 lane. Jorge Rosales, 63, of Fresno, was driving a 2012 Freightliner southbound on Highway 99 at about 55 mph in the No. 1 lane, directly beside the Kenworth.
For an unknown reason, the Kenworth’s driver veered into the No. 1 lane. The left side of the Kenworth collided with the right side of the Freightliner. The crash caused the Freightliner to turn perpendicular to the southbound lanes, and the driver lost control. The Freightliner rolled over, according to CHP.
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The Kenworth traveled back into the No. 2 lane and collided with a 1998 Saturn traveling southbound. The Saturn, driven by Francisco Rodriguez, 42, of Five Points, spun around and came to a rest on the southwest corner of the highway. The Kenworth traveled off the roadway’s eastern edge and came to a rest on its wheels near Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
Rosales suffered major injuries and was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Lazzareschi and Rodriguez suffered minor injuries.
According to CHP, both southbound lanes of the highway were closed while the wreckage was removed and traffic was diverted through the center median. The crash affected the railroad as well. Trains scheduled to pass though the scene were stopped until the debris was removed, CHP reported.
The other crash was reported at 5:30 a.m. on southbound Highway 99 near Livingston. Frank Rose, 55, of Stockton was driving a 2014 Kenworth big rig with a trailer carrying corn flour and traveling about 55 mph in the No. 3 lane, according to Officer Moises Onsurez, CHP spokesman.
For unknown reasons, the driver swerved, causing the big rig to crash into the guard rail on the west shoulder.
The big rig then struck a chain link fence and rolled onto its left side. Rose sustained minor injuries. For several hours, the No. 3 lane was closed for guard rail repair for crews to right the tanker so it could be towed away.
Rose was taken to Emanuel Hospital in Turlock.