RIVERSIDE – A semi tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 215 in Riverside Monday, March 6, plowing through the center divider and landing on its roof, trapping the driver, who was among three people injured in the wreck.
The crash occurred about 12:10 p.m. near the Van Buren Boulevard exit, directly west of March Air Reserve Base, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The agency said the big rig, carrying hundreds of pounds of produce, went out of control on the freeway’s northbound side, crashed through the center divider guardrail and flipped over, coming to rest across all three southbound lanes, which remained closed until the truck and associated debris were cleared away about 4:40 p.m.
A SigAlert was issued at 12:15 p.m. as a miles-long traffic jam developed on southbound Interstate 215, with significant slowing on the northbound side, too.
The truck driver suffered major injuries and could not free himself, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
An agency spokeswoman said three other vehicles were also involved in the wreck and occupants of each vehicle were treated at the scene by paramedics.
Along with the trucker, two other motorists were taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley for treatment – one with moderate injuries, and the other with minor injuries, the fire department said.
Officials said three engine crews and two truck companies, numbering about two dozen fire personnel, took part in the rescue operation.
A hazardous materials unit was summoned to the location and mopped up spilled diesel fuel, according to reports from the scene.
For more than four hours, all southbound traffic was diverted into Riverside via Van Buren, snarling traffic at the south end of the city, as well as neighboring Moreno Valley.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.