Crime - Sacto 911

Two dead after fuel tanker explodes in head-on crash with tow truck

Two people died Wednesday morning in a fiery collision between a fuel tanker and a tow truck that closed part of of Highway 20.

The crash took place about six miles west of the Interstate 80/Highway 20 Yuba Gap junction, according to a state Department of Transportation tweet. The highway remains closed from Scott’s Flat Road in Nevada City to Interstate 80 and might not reopen until Thursday, said Officer Chris Nave, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol’s Gold Run office..

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A fuel tanker is engulfed in flames after a head-on collision with a tow truck Wednesday morning about six miles west of the Interstate 80/Highway 20 Yuba Gap junction. Cal Fire NEU

The tanker and truck hit each other head-on about 10:10 a.m., Nave said, causing the tanker to erupt in flames. The fire then spread to the tow truck and nearby trees, filling the air with black smoke.

Flames were shooting as high as 40 to 50 feet in the air, Nave said. Both drivers, who were alone in their respective vehicles, died in the crash and subsequent fire.

The tow truck belonged to Kilroy’s Tow Service in Grass Valley, and the tanker, to Stockton-based Williams Tank Line, Nave said.

About 12,000 to 15,000 gallons of gasoline was leaking out of the trucks, according to Cal Fire.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel had been called to address potential fuel runoff from the crash, as well as the state or county Department of Environmental Health, according to the CHP online crash log.

Nave said early Wednesday afternoon that it would take several more hours to clear the roadway.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel