Drivers escape major injuries in rural Salida-area crash of big rig, pickup and SUV

A driver escaped major injury Monday morning after being ejected from his SUV in a three-vehicle crash just north of Salida, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred at 11:35 a.m. on Stoddard Road just south of Ladd Road. According to CHP officer Marcos Rivera, the driver of a Chevrolet Suburban pulled out of the driveway of Grover Landscape Services into the path of a northbound semi truck.

The vehicles collided, and the impact pushed the semi into the southbound lane, where a Ford pickup was stopped as the driver waited to make a left-hand turn into Grover.

The driver of the Suburban was ejected, Rivera said. He suffered lacerations to his face and right arm, said the officer, who classified the injuries as moderate, pending further examination at Doctors Medical Center, where he was taken by ambulance. He was conscious and alert and told officers he could not remember if he had been wearing his seat belt.

The driver of the Ford suffered minor injuries, Rivera said, and the big rig driver wasn’t hurt.

Though it had been raining earlier, authorities do not believe the weather contributed to the crash.

Stoddard was blocked by the semi, but the smaller vehicles were off the roadway. The blade of a piece of heavy equipment was used to straighten the jackknifed rig, which then was pulled onto a long tow truck. The trailer was separately removed from the road. Absorbent material was used to remove spilled fuel from the road.

The CHP will be investigating whether the suburban driver was distracted, leading him to pull into the path of the oncoming semi, Rivera said.

Shortly before 1 p.m., traffic still was being detoured from the area, with Ladd Road closed at Dale Road.

Identifying information on the three drivers was not immediately available.

Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.