UPDATE: Eastbound lanes have been reopened, the California Highway Patrol reports. Traffic is reduced to one lane for about a mile as cleanup continues.
Eastbound Highway 58, the main route between the central San Joaquin Valley and Las Vegas, remained closed Monday after a fuel tanker driven by a Fresno man crashed east of Bakersfield, spilling thousands of gallons of gasoline onto the road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
According to the CHP, the crash occurred about 11:15 p.m. Sunday on the eastbound lanes of Highway 58 east of Tower Line Road. Both directions of the highway were closed as the fuel created what the CHP described as a “river of gasoline.” The big rig caught fire. Two other vehicles were involved.
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The Bakersfield Californian identified the driver as William Abney, 29, of Fresno. He was taken to Kern Medical Center with minor injuries. CHP spokesman Robert Rodriguez told the Californian that Abney drove up an embankment on the south side of the highway, then veered across both lanes and the truck overturned. A woman in a 2016 Mustang hit the truck, followed by the driver of a 2016 Kia Sportage. Neither of those drivers was injured.
Westbound Highway 58 was reopened just after 3:30 p.m. Monday. Eastbound lanes, which may have been badly damaged by the fuel, are not expected to reopen until Tuesday.