A big rig driver was hospitalized Friday in serious condition after crashing into a wall alongside the northbound lanes of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Anaheim, causing the semi to catch fire and authorities to shut down all lanes of the freeway for more than two hours.
California Highway Patrol Officers Matthew Frattaroli and Wes Tom responded to the 12:45 a.m. crash at the Santa Ana Street overcrossing, and found the truck on fire and the 43-year-old man behind the wheel trapped inside, CHP Officer Duane Graham said.
They grabbed fire extinguishers to beat back the flames and cut him out before the truck was fully engulfed, Graham said, adding that the driver was conscious throughout the rescue and was rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
Spilled produce from the truck was mopped up and the burned-out semi-tractor trailer truck was removed, so most of the freeway’s northbound lanes were closed until early afternoon when it was finally cleared, Graham said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation, but it appears the driver lost control of the vehicle and veered off the freeway.
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