A Ceres woman on Saturday night entered Highway 99 on an exit ramp and collided with a big rig that veered off the highway and rolled down a steep embankment south of Briggsmore Avenue in Modesto, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver of the car, Rachelle Barajas, 29, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a collision that caused bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.10 percent, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a Stanislaus County sheriff's spokesman.
The legal threshold to be deemed driving drunk is 0.08 percent.
Barajas' charges are felonies. She was released from county jail Sunday evening on $25,000 bail, Singh said.
CHP officials said the driver of the overturned big rig, Baldip Singh, 39, of Yuba City, suffered minor injuries. No other injuries were reported; however, Barajas appeared in a jail photo wearing a neck brace.
Two other big rigs were involved in a rear-end collision while trying to avoid the head-on crash, which was reported about 8:30 p.m.
According to the CHP, Barajas was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla west on Briggsmore Avenue and turned left onto the exit-ramp. The Toyota made it down the ramp, heading south in the northbound lanes and merged into the center lane.
Singh was traveling north in a 2000 Freightliner and hit the Corolla head-on, the CHP reported. The Corolla sustained major front-end damage.
The impact forced Singh to lose control of his big rig, which veered off the freeway and rolled down an embankment, the CHP reported.
The big rig came to rest at the bottom of the embankment behind the Motel 6 at 1920 W. Orangeburg Ave. The force of the impact separated the big rig's cab and its engine, which lay exposed on the grass between the freeway embankment and a cyclone fence behind businesses on West Orangeburg Avenue.
According to the CHP, the fuel tank dislodged and came to rest about 10 feet south of the rest of the wreckage.
Modesto Fire Battalion Chief Rich Sasser said the big rig driver was trapped in the cab for about 30 minutes before firefighters freed him. He said the driver was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital as a precautionary measure.
"Once the firefighters freed him, he crawled out of the big rig himself," Sasser said.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2394.