Crime - Sacto 911

CHP officer badly hurt responding to tanker crash

A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer suffered major injuries early Memorial Day after he was toppled from his cycle while racing to the scene of an overturned propane tanker truck near Linden.

Officer Evan May, a seven-year veteran based in Stockton, was driving “with full lights and siren on” when he attempted to pass a pickup truck on the two-lane Highway 26, said Officer James Smith, a CHP spokesman.

As May’s eastbound cycle moved into the westbound lane to pass the pickup truck on the left, the 21-year-old driver of the pickup made a left turn into a private driveway. May’s cycle smashed into the left front of the pickup and the officer was thrown onto the north shoulder of the highway.

With CHP officers at the scene of the tanker crash, more were summoned to help their fellow officer about two miles up the road.

May was taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, with an escort of officers. His injuries were not thought to be life-threatening Monday evening, Smith said.

He said no charges have been filed against the driver of the pickup truck. The crash was under investigation.

The accident that May was attempting to respond to happened when a truck carrying liquid propane crashed and overturned while heading west on Highway 26 near Fine Road. The cab came to rest straddling both lanes of the highway. The truck driver, 33-year-old Donald Rial of Stockton, wasn’t injured.

Agricultural workers in a nearby orchard and residents of a half dozen rural houses were evacuated because propane vapor was escaping from a valve on the truck. Fire crews closed the valve, and people were allowed to return in the early afternoon, Smith said.

He said May was hurt when rushing to secure the scene “because he knew the dangers” of a tanker truck crash.

“If it had exploded, who knows how many people would have gotten hurt.” Smith said.

Peter Hecht

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