Logging truck barrels off Highway 49

Sierra Star

Highway 49 near Knickerbocker Road, shortly north of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, will be under one-lane traffic controls until Monday afternoon after a logging truck crashed off the roadway.

CHP officer KC Arnold said Justin Bennett, 30 of Missouri, was headed southbound on the highway in an open top logging truck around 9:30 a.m. Arnold said Bennett claimed his brakes gave out, causing him to move into northbound traffic as he came around a turn.

A pickup truck in the northbound lane moved as far as possible to avoid the crash, but had its left quarter panel damaged as the logging vehicle toppled off the roadway, crashing about 10 feet off the road, coming to a rest on its side as it spilled logs across a grassy area.

No injuries were reported, and the pickup truck drove off as response crews, including the Madera County Fire Department, CHP, and Caltrans assessed the area.

Arnold said one-lane traffic controls will be in place for around three hours until the logging truck, of company BKW based in Pensacola, Florida, can be towed out. As the vehicle is lifted upright and towed, there could be a “considerable delay” in the area along with a complete closure of the highway, the Oakhurst CHP office reported online.

No drugs or alcohol were suspected, Arnold said, and the cause of the crash is under investigation.

The logging truck crash is the second in recent weeks along Highway 49. On April 5, a truck from company J.W. Bamford, of Oroville, crashed into an embankment near Harmony Lane. Click here for that story.