San Andreas, CA – A falling tree, rainy conditions, and inattention contributed to two collisions along the same highway stretch; one of which involved a responding ambulance.
The chain reaction was set off, as San Andreas CHP spokesperson Officer Toby Butzler reports, along Highway 12 west of Central Hill Road. Apparently, Burson resident Johnny Hoskins, 41, was headed east, just after 8 Tuesday morning. He was driving a 2016 Chevy Silverado with two teen passengers inside.
According to the CHP, Hoskins was traveling at approximately 45 miles-per-hour when he noticed a tree starting to fall from the south shoulder towards the highway. Although he braked the pickup still collided with the tree, which landed across the front of the truck. Hoskins complained of some pain in his right ankle from the collision and received transport to and treatment at Mark Twain Medical Center.
The second crash occurred just before 8:30, according to Officer Butzler. He recounts that David Andres, 61, of Valley Springs, in a 2014 Buick Enclave, and Alexandro Barragan, 18, also from Valley Springs, in a 2005 Nissan Quest, were both sitting in the traffic backup due to the previous collision.
As Officer Butzler explains, ambulance driver Samantha Lewis, 24, of Lodi, was heading to the first crash with lights and siren activated. However as she was passing Andres in the westbound travel lane, he began to make a u-turn — and that the maneuver placed his vehicle squarely in her way. Unable to avoid the Buick, the ambulance driver hit the left front of it. The impact, he says, disabled the ambulance’s steering, after which it careened into Barragan’s Nissan.
While the officer states it was fortunate that no one was injured, the incident did block the roadway for about 45 minutes. He says the crash highlights exactly why drivers should always be aware of approaching emergency vehicles and realize that they commonly travel in areas one might not expect in order to access collision scenes.