Big rig tips over, highway closed for three hours
Chopped tennis-shoe rubber littered the asphalt of Highway 50 at Echo Summit Wednesday after a tractor-trailer rig took a turn too fast and fell on its side, shutting down the road for more than three hours.
A Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, driven eastbound by 87-year-old Stanley Koltoniak, stood in the path of the metal juggernaut, authorities said.
The trailer slid for roughly 50 yards around the 30-mph curve and scraped against the left side of the truck, covering the Toyota with small, colorful bits of rubber.
Koltoniak, from Sunnyvale, Calif., complained of pain to his right knee and had a cut on his right eyebrow. He was transported by a CALSTAR helicopter to Sutter Roseville Hospital in Sacramento, where he was treated and released, CHP Officer Sherry Reehl reported.
“Initially it looked like there was a major injury,” Reehl said. “That’s why he was flown out but it wasn’t as serious as it looked.”
The driver of the rig, Edward Roddy, 38, from Stagecoach, Nev., complained of pain to his neck, back, left shoulder, chest and both legs. He was taken by ambulance to Barton Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released, according to authorities.
Alcohol is not a factor in the 10:10 a.m. accident that occurred on the Sayles Canyon Tract between Camp Sacramento and Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, Reehl said.
Some of the rubber bits fell down the hill slope and into a river. The California Department of Fish and Game was called to the scene.
“They basically told me it was ground-up tennis shoe parts, and it’s not going to have any impact for the fish or wildlife,” said Warden John Dymek. “If it were a petroleum-based substance, it would have more impact.”
Two tow trucks used to haul buses and motor homes righted the overturned rig, where a small amount of fuel trickled from the left tank.
The California Department of Transportation assisted in cleaning up the spill and rubber bits. The highway reopened around 1:30 p.m.