Stanislaus National Forest, CA — A 26-year-old Manteca man is dead after his semi plummeted off the Clavey River Bridge near Cottonwood Road in the Stanislaus National Forest around 10:30 Friday morning. Much of the current BAER Team Rim Fire recovery work is going on in the area. The CHP will not confirm if the man was part of the team or was a private contractor doing fire recovery work.
The 1989 International truck was pulling two trailers of hay when the truck plowed through a metal guard rail and plunged 100 feet, landing in the river bed. The CHP would not confirm whether speed or mechanical problems with the truck caused the crash. The driver was pinned inside the truck and died at the scene. The name of the victim is not being released pending notification of the family.
The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue rope team was used to retrieve the body. A hazmat crew was on scene to clean up any possible diesel fuel or other liquids that could have leaked into the river. The CHP does not have confirmation on whether any hazardous materials spilled into the river.
Crews will be back on the scene this morning to tow the truck from the river bed. CHP Spokesperson Nick Norton says, “Fire will also be out there just in case there is an issue with any kind of liquids that may have spilled that could catch on fire or if when hauling out the truck there is a spark that could ignite brush.”
Norton asks motorists to steer clear of the area as the road way will be blocked while crews clean up the crash site.
Click here for a map of the wreck site.
Update 8:30 am: The CHP reports Cottonwood Road was just closed so the semi and trailers can be towed from the river bed. The road will be shut down for several hours.