132 reopens after big rigs collide west of Modesto

pguerra@modbee.comJuly 30, 2013 

    alternate text Patty Guerra
    Title: Breaking news editor
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, business
    Bio: Patty Guerra has been an editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 13 years. She has a journalism degree from Fresno State and previously worked at the Turlock Journal and Merced Sun-Star.
    Recent stories written by Patty
    On Twitter: @pattyguerra
    E-mail: pguerra@modbee.com

— A big rig collision closed Highway 132 west of Modesto on Tuesday morning.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of one big rig was headed east near Stone Avenue when he reached down for a moment to get something and allowed the truck to cross the center line.

The big rig, driven by Williames Byrd, 63, of Joaquin, Texas, sideswiped another big rig before leaving the road on the north shoulder, hitting some trees in an orchard and overturning.

The accident was reported at 10:10 a.m.

Byrd suffered minor injuries; the other driver, Daniel Rocha, 63, of French Camp, was not hurt. Rocha was driving a gravel truck.

"As scary as the crash looks, we're fortunate the injuries weren't worse," CHP officer Eric Parsons said.

Byrd was hauling 50,000 pounds of frozen cookie dough, an employee of the California Department of Transportation said. The dough had to be off-loaded before the big rig, which lost an axle, could be towed away.

About 40 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the truck.

The big rig also swiped a Modesto Irrigation District power pole; MID workers responded to the scene and examined the pole and lines. They determined that no damage had been done.

Authorities closed the highway between Hart and Dakota roads before reopening it in one direction about 11:45 a.m. and fully two hours after that.

A second, brief closure took place about 4 p.m. after the truck was righted and prepared for towing.

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.

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