By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Explosion rocks Hwy. 99
A crash involving a big-rig and numerous vehicles on southbound Highway 99 resulted in a fireball explosion underneath the Hatch Road overpass yesterday afternoon.

The big rig was carrying a load of new cars, some of which spilled off of its trailer and into the northbound and southbound lanes of the freeway. Several vehicles caught fire, sending hot flames up into the cement Hatch Road overpass.

The crash was first reported at 3:15 p.m.

Details were sketchy as of press time but a California Highway Patrol spokesman said the crash resulted in major injuries to multiple motorists. At least one motorist reported seeing one car fly through the air while on fire and nearly struck him.

Within 15 minutes the fire was controlled and Caltrans officials were dispatched to check the integrity of the overpass. Flames from burning vehicles licked the center support column of the overpass. The westbound lanes of the overpass remained closed as of 5 p.m.

The California Highway Patrol diverted traffic off the freeway at Crows Landing Road as Ceres firefighters extinguished the fire. Freeway backed up into San Joaquin County. By 5 p.m. traffic was flowing freely on Highway 99.