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Fatal big-rig accident closes I-5 lanes in Merced County

Merced County firefighters use the jaws of life to cut the cab away from the driver following a fatal accident involving two big rigs Wednesday afternoon, March 26, 2008, on the southbound lanes of I-5 near Ortigalita Creek. (Gene Lieb / Los Banos Enterprise)
Merced County firefighters use the jaws of life to cut the cab away from the driver following a fatal accident involving two big rigs Wednesday afternoon, March 26, 2008, on the southbound lanes of I-5 near Ortigalita Creek. (Gene Lieb / Los Banos Enterprise) Los Banos Enterprise

One trucker died and a second trucker had minor injuries this morning in a crash on Interstate 5 just north of the Fresno County line, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident has shut down one of the two southbound lanes of Interstate 5.

The 11:40 a.m. accident was reported on southbound Interstate 5 south of Ortigalita Creek, just north of Highway 165 in Merced County.

The accident occurred when the first rig, pulling two Entenmann's cakes trailers, slowed for traffic and was struck from behind by the second rig.

The driver of the second truck did not slow down in time, CHP Officer Mike Panelli said. The collision crushed the cab of the second truck, killing its driver. The driver of the cake truck had minor injuries.

Fertilizer was being transported by the second truck, which was from Britz Fertilizers Inc. in Five Points in Fresno County, Panelli said.

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