An apparently drowsy driver whose pickup truck slammed into the back of a big rig early Monday on the San Diego (5) Freeway in San Juan Capistrano is “lucky to be alive,” a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado was traveling north on the highway, just north of Juniperro Serra Road, when it slammed into the rear of the rig in the slow lane about 3:45 a.m., according to CHP Officer Rafael Reynoso.

The pickup got wedged under the truck’s trailer, which was dragging it along, he said. The driver of the 2014 Freightliner “felt kind of a jolt” and pulled over, Reynoso said.

He said Orange County Fire Authority firefighters had to extract the victim with the Jaws of Life. The 26-year-old Van Nuys resident, whose name was not released, was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo with “major injuries” but was expected to survive, Reynoso said.

“He is very lucky to be alive,” Reynoso said.

The two far right lanes were closed from 4 a.m. to 6:35 a.m., according to Reynoso, who said it doesn’t appear that alcohol or drugs factored into the cause of the collision.

–City News Service

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