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Three injured in separate 99 off-ramp mishaps
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Ceres Police officers check out Mondays scene of a Hwy. 99 off-ramp chain-reaction wreck involving Ceres Fire Engine #18. The crumpled Honda (right) caused the crash by running into the Nissan (at left) which pushed it into the fire engine.

Two women were injured Monday afternoon when their vehicle flipped over near the Whitmore Avenue freeway off-ramp and were ejected. A short time later, one of the Ceres fire engines called off of the scene was involved in its own crash that resulted in two vehicles being totaled at the Mitchell Road off-ramp.

The first crash occurred at approximately 12:12 p.m. when the driver of a southbound vehicle lost control at the Whitmore exit which was being reopened following landscape maintenance by Caltrans crews. The vehicle was reportedly undergoing an unsafe lane change and was struck by a truck from behind and flipped over.

"It rolled over and ejected the two occupants," said Ceres Fire Captain Rich Scola.

The two were triaged and sent to a local hospital for treatment.

Scola said more fire engines were dispatched than needed so he cancelled Ceres Quint ladder Engine #18. Like other traffic unable to get off at the Whitmore Avenue exit, the truck continued down to the Mitchell Road off-ramp which was significantly backed up. At 12:31 p.m. while sitting in traffic, a driver of a Honda Civic coming off the freeway too fast hit a black Nissan Altima right behind the fire engine. The impact shoved the Nissan into the fire engine and then it popped out to the grassy median.

The driver of the Nissan was not injured, said Scola.

Firefighters watched as the Honda driver who caused the chain-reaction crash begin to walk away. He was detained by fire crew until police arrived. The responsible driver had moderate injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

Scola said the fire engine had only cosmetic damage and was not operationally affected.

The California Highway Patrol was not available for names and conditions of those involved.