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Cleanup under way in Pomona after big rig-building crash

August 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A major cleanup job is under way Wednesday at a Caltrans building in Pomona after a big rig ran off the road near the eastbound 60 Freeway and smashed into the structure.

The tractor part of the vehicle was some 20 to 30 feet inside the building, with the trailer sticking out from the side. The building, located near South Garey Avenue, is part of the Caltrans Maintenance Yard, where equipment is stored.

The driver of the semi-trailer truck was transported to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries including cuts, bruises and possibly a concussion. Officials say he is very lucky he did not sustain serious injuries in the crash.

Investigators said the crash happened at about 3 a.m. Wednesday. The vehicle was traveling eastbound on the 60 Freeway just past the Garey Avenue exit when it ran off the road, came down a dirt embankment, crossed over Garey Avenue and slammed into the building.

Authorities said the driver was very confused and disoriented after the crash. He reportedly told officials he was very sleepy at the time. Investigators said the driver was so disoriented that he did not know where he was coming from or where he was going.

No one was inside of the building at the time of the crash, which left a gaping hole on the side of the structure.

"We're just fortunate that it did happen at 3 in the morning and at this area," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Bennett. "If it just shifted a couple feet one way or the other, the outcome would have been totally different because it would have hit the structural makings of that building."

CHP Officer Raleigh Quinones said the truck damaged office and garage spaces in the structure.

From inside the building, it was hard to make out the cab of the truck in the twisted metal. Pictures provided by the fire department show a crushed fiberglass frame with only the engine remaining.

Crews had to use saws to cut away the damaged building before pulling out the trailer.

Bennett said the operation to remove the trailer was a slow and meticulous one, as they had to be careful to keep the building structurally sound.

Authorities said while there is extensive damage to the building, it certainly could have been much worse had there been workers inside at the time or if the crash happened during rush-hour traffic.


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