RIVERSIDE: Three survive being crushed when UPS truck overturns on their vehicle

RIVERSIDE — At least three people were hospitalized after a UPS truck overturned, landing on top of a compact sedan, crushing it almost beyond recognition, Wednesday morning Aug. 23. The early-morning accident happened in the eastbound lanes of the 60 Freeway near the downtown Riverside area, between Main and Orange Streets.

At least three people managed to “self-extricate” from the crushed remains of a white Nissan after a UPS truck overturned on top of the car. Loudlabs News photo

City of Riverside Police and Fire officials, California Highway Patrol officers and American Medical Response medics responded to the accident about 2:40 a.m., after the multiple-vehicle traffic collision was reported to officials.

911 callers told emergency dispatchers the collision involved three vehicles, including a white Nissan Altima sedan, silver pickup truck and a UPS tractor-trailer, semi-truck.

Callers also told dispatchers that at least three occupants from the compact sedan were trapped inside the crushed remains of their car.

The first arriving fire officials found a UPS semi and trailer overturned, with a Nissan sedan pinned under the trailer, Fire Captain P. Seawright explained from the scene of the accident.

As firefighters and law enforcement officials began to arrive at the scene, three occupants from the crushed sedan were able to self-extricate from the vehicle and were later transported to an area hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Their injuries were described as minor to moderate.

“I can’t believe they survived at all,” James Pattinson – who said he spent more than one hour waiting to be directed off the freeway and around the crash scene – later explained in an email.

“When I saw the ‘squashed’ condition of the car after the wreck, I knew – I was absolutely positive – that the occupants would have been killed,” Pattinson continued. “When they started crawling their way out from inside the crushed vehicle, I was just in shock and utter disbelief.”

Traffic quickly backed up for several miles after the accident, which forced the temporary closure of the 60 Freeway near downtown Riverside. Loudlabs News photo

Several witnesses at the scene reported to officials conducting the accident investigation that the white Nissan crashed into the semi-truck, causing it to overturn; with its trailer landing on and crushing much of the smaller vehicle.

Early morning work-bound traffic quickly began to back up for several miles, forcing CHP officials to issue a SigAlert and call for the hard closure of all eastbound lanes of traffic on the 60 Freeway.

Although officials reportedly managed to quickly re-open the freeway’s HOV lane; because of fuel, oil and other liquids spilled from the semi and the extent of the wreckage, the remaining lanes remained closed for several hours.

The freeway was fully re-opened to through traffic after officials managed to flip the overturned big-rig back onto its wheels and cleared the wrecked tractor-trailer and other vehicles from the roadway.

“I can think of several people right now who’d better be on their knees tonight, thanking God for their protection and for their lives,” Pattinson opined after the collision, adding that in spite of the lengthy delay earlier that morning, because he skipped his normal breakfast stop, he still made it to his place of employment as a security guard in Palm Springs on time.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation as officers work to determine if speed and/or intoxication were contributing factors in the collision.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 13 – soon to be 14 – grandchildren.

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