Terry Jacobs, driving for Willis Logging Company of North Fork, had picked up a load on Sky Ranch Road (Road 632) near Calvin Crest this morning, and was headed to Madera.
He says he saw the Caltrans alert sign just south of Road 200 near Road 406, warning of the traffic control for this morning’s vegetation fire.
Jacobs explains that he downshifted and began to slow. He was traveling at about 45 miles per hour when he came around a corner and encountered a long line of traffic stopped in the middle of the road.
“I had to make a decision in that instant,” Jacobs says, “but it was not a tough decision. You think about who may be in those car and you either hit them or drive off the road.”
CHP Sgt. Lincoln McKenna agrees.
“It was a brave decision he made, risking his own life potentially saved many lives in his quick action in avoiding a multi-vehicle crash.”
Sgt. McKenna reminds drivers to be aware at all times of risks on the road.
“On this stretch of highway there is not a lot of room to take evasive action. The speed limit here is 55 miles-per-hour for a reason. People need to travel at a safe speed and a safe distance.”
When the log truck overturned, it spilled about 60 gallons of diesel fuel. Hazmat teams are working to clean it up, and the highway will remain closed for now.
Sgt. McKenna estimates 2-3 hours until the road can be reopened, as two heavy-duty wreckers need to pull the truck back up onto the road, and the logs need to be loaded and removed.
He adds that authorities take seriously the inconvenience to motorists, however, the detour still allows people to continue on their travels, though they may be delayed by a bit. Keeping the roadway clear allows for heavy equipment to make quick access and do their jobs unimpeded.
As for Mr. Jacobs, he’s just so happy that no one — himself included — was injured in today’s incident. For that reason, it’s a lucky day.