A big rig carrying 30,000 pounds of frozen chicken launched off of Highway 99 in Turlock and landed on the roadway below early Monday morning.
The driver, 52-year-old Ricardo Cinco, of Atwater, told authorities he fell asleep while traveling northbound on the highway approaching the Fulkerth Road undercrossing just before 2:30 a.m., said California Highway Patrol officer Tom Olsen.
Olsen said the truck began traveling off the roadway about 500 feet before Fulkerth and took out about 200 feet of guardrail in its trajectory to the roadway below.
“It’s very fortunate no other vehicles were down on Fulkerth at this time,” Olsen said. “This could have been a very bad situation to have an 80,000 pound big rig come down on you.”
Despite the impact and being temporarily pinned inside the truck, Cinco suffered only minor injuries.
The containers carrying the chicken split open and diesel spilled from the truck.
Northbound Highway 99 was closed temporarily while Caltrans workers removed pieces of guardrail from the road.
Olsen said there were three additional collisions as a result of the slow in traffic but no one was injured.
Fulkerth remained closed until around 11 a.m. while a heavy duty tow truck worked to remove the big rig.