Jack-knifed big-rig on SR-89 near Burney leads to overnight confusion, traffic delays

UPDATED: Thursday, Jan. 7, 6 p.m., With traffic condition update and other information.

BURNEY, Calif. — A tractor-trailer combo that jack-knifed and crashed in heavy fog along SR-89 overnight led to multiple calls and confusion about the big-rig’s location, as well as an hours-long citizen-led search for its driver throughout the early morning hours today, Thursday, Jan. 7.

The accident happened near Cayton Ridge at MM 36.06, north of the SR-89 and SR-299E junction near the Dana Cut-Off at McArthur Road, according to a CHP incident log.

The accident was initially reported around 2:45 a.m. this morning and caused Caltrans to issue an alert around noon that one-way traffic control had been implemented. However, although a pair of heavy-duty tow wreckers spent much of the day trying to recover the rig and its trailer, recovery efforts were called off due to darkness around 5:30 p.m.


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California Highway Patrol was first alerted to the crash when the driver of the rig called 911 and reported that his truck had jack-knifed and smashed through a guardrail, before going about 100 feet over the embankment and crashing into the trees adjacent the highway.

The driver, who was uninjured in the collision, reported he was going to make his own arrangements to have his rig and trailer pulled out and later updated CHP that recovery efforts would not begin until after daylight.

A tractor-trailer combo that jack-knifed and crashed through a guardrail along SR-89 early this morning led to one-way traffic control that lasted nearly six hours and caused significant delays in travel times through the area. SCNS Staff Photographer Kenny Klein

An officer who responded to the scene reported the tractor-trailer combo had crashed near the passing lanes in “very icy” roadway conditions, as overnight temperatures dipped into the high teens.

Throughout the rest of the morning, the wrecked rig generated a number of additional 911 calls, with various different locations given each time; leading to confusion as to whether the callers were reporting the same accident that had already been called in.

One such call around 7:45 a.m., reported that other motorists who had come upon the crash had been searching for the big-rig’s driver for more than an hour, due to being worried the man may have become lost or injured while searching for help.

Each of the calls were eventually determined to be related to the same accident.


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The first of two heavy-duty wreckers from Keith’s Tow responded to the scene around 9 a.m., with the second arriving around noon. Several other tow trucks responded to the scene to assist in the recovery operation. At that time Caltrans issued an alert that one-way traffic control had been implemented to facilitate recovery efforts. Attempts to extricate the rig and trailer continued for nearly the next six hours.

Although two heavy-duty wreckers spent much of the day on recovery efforts, the operation was eventually called off due to darkness and is expected to resume tomorrow morning, according to CHP. SCNS Staff Photographer Kenny Klein

Contacted for more information around 5:30 p.m., a CHP representative advised that recovery efforts had been unsuccessful and due to darkness had just ceased for the day; saying that the roadway had just reopened to through traffic.

The representative also advised that recovery efforts were expected to begin again tomorrow morning and that the ongoing operation would likely lead to further one-way traffic control and delays in travel times.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including KRCR News Channel 7 and Mountain Echo in Shasta County, Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as 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, 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 30 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 18 grandchildren.

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