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Copper Man Victim In Big Rig Incident

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A clerk for the San Andreas office of the California Highway Patrol died Saturday when a truck and trailer jackknifed on Highway 99 and the big rig rolled over his Saturn.

Phillip Mocalis, 57, of Copperopolis and his 26-year-old nephew, Jason Jaco, of Simi Valley, were headed to the Bay Area to visit Mocalis´ father for New Year´s, said Officer Bryan Duquesnel of the San Andreas CHP office.

According to the Modesto Bee, the CHP reported that a big rig traveling in the slow lane on southbound Highway 99 south of Lander Avenue in Turlock, suddenly swerved to the left and pushed Mocalis´ Saturn, a Ford Expedition and a Chevrolet Silverado pickup off the highway and down an embankment at about 1:30 p.m.

The truck and trailer also ran off the highway and then crushed the Saturn, killing Mocalis and Jaco.

Mocalis´ death has shocked the local CHP unit. He had worked there since 1998 as an office assistant.

Duquesnel said Mocalis was always helpful and was a very nice guy. “I never heard any foul language from him,” he said.

“I´m going to miss him,” said Jeanne Burkman, office supervisor and Mocalis´ boss. “He was my right hand man and was one of the best.”

Calaveras Enterprise story by Mike Taylor. For more Calaveras news, click: