Last year in May I posted a rant about impatient drivers (Look here for the post.) and this morning, I'm going to do it again. Yesterday morning, I read about a bad accident on highway 166 down near San Luis Obispo/Santa Maria involving two big rigs (according to the original article) that happened Friday evening. There weren't many details yesterday, but this morning the San Luis Obispo newspaper has another article on their web site about the accident which gives a lot more details. Another article on the KSBY Channel 6 web site gives even more. The accident was caused by an impatient driver trying to pass a couple of trucks.
According to the articles, a man from Santa Maria (who's identity hasn't been disclosed) in a F-150 pickup crossed a double yellow line and attempted to pass two big rigs. When he pulled out into the opposing (westbound) lane, he sideswiped a Honda being driven by a woman from Bakersfield, then sideswiped another pickup truck (A Chevy) driven by a man from Bakersfield. He then hit another big rig head on. That rig went on into the eastbound lane and crashed into another big rig, causing it to roll over. Then both rigs caught on fire. The pickup then hit another eastbound big rig, then sideswiped another westbound car (A Saturn) driven by another woman from Bakersfield.
The driver of the rig that was hit head on died, either in the initial crash or in the fire. That driver could not be identified yet. The driver of the rig that rolled over luckily only suffered minor injuries. The woman in the Honda also suffered minor injuries and the man in the other pickup, the man in the 3rd big rig and the woman in the Saturn were truly lucky, they weren't injured at all. The impatient man is in the hospital with "major" injuries. The accident scene covered over 2,000 feet of the highway and the wreckage, cleanup and investigation had the highway closed for nearly a full day.
One idiot who thought he was going to get where he was going just a little sooner by passing a couple trucks on a curve with double yellow lines didn't get where he was going that night. He got a trip to the hospital and probably will have a long convalescence from his injuries. He killed a man. He injured two other people. He wrecked 7 vehicles, including his own. (I think the photo to the left is the F150, or what's left of it.) His impatience and stupidity closed a highway for a day, causing other drivers to take long detours in order to get from one side of the coastal range to the other.
Amazingly, or maybe it's not that amazing, the first comment below the article in the San Luis Obispo paper blames the trucks for the accidents.
"croberts wrote on 03/07/2009 08:31:05 PM:
To repeat: As a regular 'user' of 166 I can say without hesitation that 166 is unsafe due to overuse by large truck/trailer combos. This should NOT be allowed as a 'truck-route', used by commercial and semi-tractor trailer rigs looking for the sort-cut to I-5/99. The combination of hills, curves, one-lane each way, bad passing areas, motor-homes, pickups towing trailers, U-Hauls, and autos driven by the unskilled and impatient result in deadly accidents. Add to the mix an obvious lack of law enforcement. (Never seen a Chippy)."
As I look at a Google map showing the highway this accident happened on, I see that Highway 166 isn't a "shortcut". I see that it is the most direct route between Santa Maria and Bakersfield. Perhaps this guy who wrote this comment is one of those guys who do stupid things to get around trucks? Blame it all on the trucks... Sheesh!
View Larger Map