Brake failure cause of big rig turnover on Road 415

Coarsegold Brake failure on a semi truck hauling a double trailer of hot asphalt was found to be responsible for the truck overturning on Road 415, and seriously injuring the driver, according to The California Highway Patrol.

The truck went over onto the driver's side, shattering windows and trapping the man inside the overturned truck amid the spilled asphalt. He sustained a broken arm, abrasions and other minor injuries, and was flown to Community Regional Medical Center via Lifeflight helicopter.

Motorists stopped and tried to assist the injured man and directed traffic around the wreck, until emergency crews arrived.

CHP Sgt M. Schwab said the 1995 Freightliner was westbound Thursday about noon just west of City View, hauling hot asphalt for a private job near Raymond, when the crash occurred.

"Our examination of the truck and trailer indicated brake failure on the trailer. It wasn't overloaded ... no other vehicles were involved. The driver, a 48-year-old man from west Sacramento, was rounding the sweeping curve, downslope, and was slowing when the brakes failed on the loaded trailer. That (load) pushed the truck forward ... He was attempting to keep it upright and on the road when it overturned," Schwab said.

No license or vehicle violations were found with the truck, and the driver was seat belted.

The roadway area where the truck overturned was narrow and the site complicated emergency and recovery efforts, Schwab said.

The truck and trailer skidded and when over the side about 40 feet, he said, with the trailer partially blocking the roadway, spilling the load of at least 40,000 pounds of asphalt, mainly off the roadway.

The crash snarled traffic in the area and closed Road 415 off and on, for several hours as the semi truck and trailer was uprighted and towed away. Madera County County road crews worked several more hours to load up and remove the spilled asphalt from the shoulder and hillside.

- DJ Becker, Community Correspondent