Bus dropping off children leads to Hat Creek 3 big-rig pileup

HAT CREEK — Authorities are at the scene of a chain reaction crash involving a school bus dropping off students in the Hat Creek area and three, fully loaded, tractor-trailer combos that slammed into each other while trying to stop for the bus earlier this afternoon, Tuesday, May 7. The accident, which happened on SR-89, a half-mile south of Lava Flat Ln. and about seven miles southeast of the junction of highways 89 and 299, did not directly affect the bus or injure any of its passengers.

It was not immediately known what school district the bus is owned and operated by or how many children were on the bus when the lead big-rig spotted it pull to the side of the road ahead of their vehicle and activate its red flashers, indicating it was preparing to drop off children. When that driver began to slow for the bus and its children, the two trucks behind it were unable to slow or stop in time causing the three trucks to plow into each other.


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CHP and other area emergency personnel were first alerted to the chain reaction crash shortly after 4 p.m. this afternoon, after receiving reports of the northbound collisions along the rural, two-lane mountain highway. 911 callers reported at least two of the big-rigs sustained front-end and radiator damage and at least one was still in the roadway; blocking traffic and inoperable.

Witnesses described one of the big-rigs as a Walmart tractor-trailer combo with a loaded, 53-foot trailer. A second big-rig was described as a fully loaded hauler out of the British Columbia area, and no description of the third truck was readily available.

It was not immediately known which of the three semi-trucks was leading the group of three when the accident happened, how fast the trucks were traveling, or why the trio of rigs was unable to safely stop in time for the school bus and its young passengers.

At 4:30 p.m., CHP’s incident log indicated that Keith’s Towing would be dispatching two heavy-duty wreckers to the scene within an hour and a half and after some more searching, CHP dispatchers managed to locate a third wrecker about fifteen minutes later. However, due to the extended arrival time for all three of the wreckers, it was not known when the roadway would be fully cleared of the damaged tractors and their loaded trailers.


Today: Big-rig smacks 299E guardrail, lanes partially blocked

Monday: Officials at scene of pickup upside down and submerged in creek off 299E

Sunday: Officials headed to rollover crash, car submerged, in Poison Lake

Last Week: More details after Redding Hotshot crew crash injures 11

Contacted for details about this collision, CHP indicated the crash resulted in minor injuries/complaints of pain to two of the drivers, but neither required medical treatment. CHP also said the accident was not causing a significant delay on area traffic, which was able to move slowly past the damaged trucks as they waited to be towed from the scene.

CHP is investigating the collision and as of this report, their investigation is still active and ongoing at the scene.

Have photos of this crash or its aftermath?
Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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