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CHP officer among 3 injured in runaway truck collision

July 4, 2010 | 12:59 pm

A runaway truck speeding out of control through the Grapevine area of Interstate 5 hit a California Highway Patrol cruiser trying to clear its path Saturday, triggering a three-vehicle collision that sent all three drivers to the hospital.

The identity of the 35-year-old CHP officer from Bakersfield, who suffered what were reported to be moderate injuries, was not being released Sunday, according to Officer Kirk Arnold, who said no arrests had been made. The accident is said to have been caused by an SUV driver's failure to follow the CHP officer's directions to move out of the way.

The officer's Crown Victoria patrol car was hit from the rear by a Freightliner truck moving at 85 miles per hour. The cruiser then crashed into a Honda Pilot sport-utility vehicle before ricocheting back into the truck's path, where it was hit again, according to a CHP report. The cruiser came to a stop after hitting the center divider wall.

The truck, driven by 47-year-old Guillermo Martinez of Hialeah, Fla., sped on for another mile before overturning on the right shoulder of the highway, just south of the California Aqueduct.

The driver of the Honda, 66-year-old Albert Ash, the truck driver and the CHP officer were taken to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Officer Patrick Etchebarne said in a report on the incident, which occurred at 8:45 a.m. Saturday.

Emergency crews and investigators kept the freeway's northbound lanes blocked for more than three hours, causing traffic to back up for miles on the first day of the holiday weekend.

-- Carol J. Williams