UPDATE: I-15 Reopens After Big Rig Crash at Clinton Keith

The big rig jack-knifed at about 11:59 p.m. Thursday near the southbound offramp to Clinton Keith, forcing the closure of all southbound lanes while authorities cleared the site of hazardous materials.

UPDATE 11:40 a.m. Aug. 31:

Interstate 15 south at Clinton Keith Road between Wildomar and Murrieta was reopened Friday morning after the wreckage between a big rig and two passenger cars was cleared.

The truck driver suffered a minor cut to his head, but there were no other injuries, according to California Highway Patrol Spokesperson Nathan Baer.

According to Baer, the accident occurred when an unoccupied 1985 red Chevy Camaro was stopped in the number three lane. The truck driver, 42-year-old Dennis Santiago of San Diego, was traveling south at about 57 mph in the same lane and was unable to avoid hitting the Camaro, Baer said.

There was major damage to the Camaro upon impact, he said.

Santiago veered to the left and hit a 1996 Honda Civic being driven at about 70 mph in the number one lane by 30-year-old Jonathan Forno of Corona, according to Baer.

The truck and the Honda landed in the center divide and both hit the center median, Baer said. One of two trailers being hauled by Santiago overturned, and approximately 40 gallons of fuel spilled in the center divide, he said.

All southbund lanes were closed for precautionary measures, Baer said.

There were no arrests, and the driver of the Honda was injured, he said.

The scene was declared safe at 8:25 a.m. As of 11:20 a.m., the truck and trailer were being removed from the center divide.


Interstate 15 south is closed at Clinton Keith Road between Murrieta and Wildomar following a crash involving a big rig, California Highway Patrol is reporting.

The big rig jack-knifed at about 11:59 p.m. Thursday near the southbound offramp to Clinton Keith, according to CHP. Caltrans was called out to assist with a "long term" closure of the freeway. A Sigalert has been issued until at least 4 a.m. Friday.

CHP officers have directed southbound motorists onto the center divide and back to the Clinton Keith Road exit.

A late-model red Camaro was involved in the crash. Unconfirmed reports indicate the Camaro may have been stopped in the slow lane and someone was attempting to flag other drivers down when the crash occurred.

Paramedics from the Murrieta Fire Department, Cal Fire and AMR responded to the crash site, but the extent of injuries was unknown at press time.

The Riverside County Fire Department Hazardous Materials team and County Environmental Health officials also responded to identify and offload unknown contents of the tank that was being hauled, according to Jody Hagemann, spokesperson for Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.

Caltrans District 8 sent a Twitter message indicating the truck was hauling pesticides, and that the extended closure could possibly continue into the morning traffic commute. Motorists should expect long delays, according to Caltrans.

Donna E August 31, 2012 at 03:21 PM
The city or Caltrans needs to be sued! They left no shoulder for anyone to pull off if they stall out and now someone got their car smashed or maybe got killed. Damn stupid. Even my daughter previously asked "how does someone pull off if they have a problem?" a couple weeks ago. Stupid stupid stupid. There was room to put the barriers over to create a shoulder.
christina costello August 31, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Wow, so agree Donna E.
Lisa H August 31, 2012 at 05:26 PM
This is an absolute horrible tragedy and I pray everyone survived. Unfortunately I don't think it is completely fair to put the blame on Caltrans. As much as freeway roadwork, lane closures, and such can drive me crazy when trying to get from point A to point B, the work is necessary to keep up with our local infrastructure. Caltrans engineers have to take into effect various conditions to make sure that when moving lanes, adding lanes, and having workable areas where their employees and vehicles are going to be, that all scenarios are safe for all parties involved, including the amount of traffic that will be traveling on that road daily. I would hope that if there was a way to make the commute better for all parties (AND safer), they would make that top priority (lawsuits are definitely something they would want to avoid). Living most of my life in Northern California, I used to travel across the San Mateo Bridge daily for several years. Until recently, that bridge was 2 lanes, each direction, with absolutely no center dividers or shoulders. It was also 7 miles long. If there was any kind of hiccup, it blocked one or both of the lanes and you were parked until it cleared (major accidents could take a couple hours). Point is, Caltrans must have a pretty good reason why they make the decisions they do (as crazy as they may seem to us). Unless we are engineers, we really don't know what the safety issue may be as to why that decision was made.
kristin c August 31, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The work they're doing now should have been started 15 years ago.
Lisa H August 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Can't disagree with you there. The funding gets tied up in so much bureaucratic bs that by the time they finally do the road work that was supposed to be done years ago it really isn't sufficient enough to keep up with the modern day infrastructure.
kristin c August 31, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I've lived out here since 1984. The 215 was a 2 lane lane highway... it still is in some places. Newport road was the only connection to canyon lake... it still is. The only difference is that a thousand people a day traveled those roads back then vs. a million or more a day now. The changes being made are minuscule and not sufficient. I live near canyon lake and twice a week have to go to wheat field park at 6 pm. Newport rd is a 6 ish mile stretch of road and it takes 30 minutes for me to get there. The congestion in that bridge at the 215 is criminal. There is absolutely no alternative to get over that freeway without having to sit. Sorry for the rant but it is all so frustrating.
robert dye August 31, 2012 at 10:42 PM
thank you. let me start like this... my name is robert. i just happen to be the owner of that camaro. my transmission locked the wheels up and car would not move. i turned on flashers, got out and called 911. they assurexd me that an officer would be there directly. 25 min later (no officer yet) as i was successfully detouring traffic to the number 2 lane about 100 ft from car, said big rig was about a half mile away and was coming on strong. hunable to get his attention, i waved 2 bright flashlights frantically to no avail. truck was continuously swerving. i waited til last possible second then dove headfirst over concrete barrier to avoid being hit. driver then hit barrier then on to just demolish my poor car. at no time did driver attempt to brake or swerve. he was either asleep or distracted. whoever wrote the nonsense in this article should not comment on something they know so little about.thank you for your time!
Lisa H August 31, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Robert - first off, I'm glad to hear that you are safe and uninjured. That is great news. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about your car - I'm sorry for the loss on that. At least your car insurance company should be able to help you out with that. But honestly, I have to say, as I completely admire the fact you wanted to assist in helping other drivers see your disabled vehicle, at midnight on a dark highway, I can't say it was worth putting your life at risk. You did what you could by putting your flashers on, but at that point you should have left the vehicle and searched safe ground for yourself until the officer showed up. As for the big rig coming at you, I'm not sure if you are aware of the weight that's involved with a fully loaded trailer. By the time the driver would have noticed you and the disabled vehicle and started to slow his rig down, he probably would have had to supply a lot of pressure on the brakes causing the back end to start swerving back and forth. It probably had nothing to do with sleepiness or distraction just lack of landscape between the two vehicles. Big rigs cannot stop on a dime like a car, they need a lot of distance to come to a complete stop (WHICH, ON A SIDE NOTE, PEOPLE PLEASE REMEMBER WHEN CUTTING BIG RIGS OFF IN TRAFFIC). I hope all works out with your situation and again, I'm glad you came out of this uninjured.
robert dye August 31, 2012 at 11:15 PM
every oyher vehicle merged with plenty of time. please do not argue or discredit someone when you dont know what the hell you are talking about.
Chris September 01, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Hey Robert, Glad you or anyone involved wasn't hurt, though it is sad to see another F-Body gone. I have a 1985 Camaro Z28, and am currently looking to restore my interior. If you have the car maybe I can help you out with your losses by purchasing whatever is able to be salavaged. Also wanted to throw it out that if you replace it with another Camaro and are looking for a club My Camaro club is always looking for enthusisasts. If you could provide me with any info that would be great I_2Fast4You_I (at) Yahoo dot com. Wish you the best and happy new car hunting
Nobama mc libtard repuke-ican September 01, 2012 at 06:10 AM
I'm sick of these left wing, conservative liberal fox news corporations taking our jerbs!
Lisa H September 01, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Robert - I was not trying to argue with you. I was merely stating FACTS about big rigs. You are correct, I was not at the scene and therefore have no idea what exactly happened. I was simply responding to your own account of what happened. I am glad that you were able to help other "vehicles" avoid your disabled car, but again, big rigs definitely do not fall into the same category as regular passenger cars. If I misread your interpretation of events, I truly apologize. I was just stating the laws of physics when it comes to large objects stopping in short distances. I am glad to hear you are doing well and it looks as though someone is willing to help you out of this terrible situation with your vehicle. Best of luck to you in the future.
Donna E September 06, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Robert I'm so glad you're ok as well as the Honda driver. I saw the pics of the car and just had to stop and pray you were ok. So awesome of you to try to warn the other drivers. That could have been one of my teenage drivers that hit it, as they are not as experienced, if you had not been warning people,,,


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