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Collision Snarls California 118 Traffic

November 11, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A massive traffic backup occurred on both lanes of California 118 on Tuesday when a tractor-trailer collided with a sport utility vehicle on a heavily traveled stretch between Oxnard and Moorpark, officers said.

The roadway is the main alternate route into and out of western Ventura County. It was closed for three hours after the 6:24 a.m. crash, which occurred on a curvy section near Mesa Union School, said CHP Officer Steven Reid.

"There were no arrests and no injuries, just a big traffic mess," Reid said.

Big-rig driver Oscar Gilberto Contreras, 29, was driving west toward Oxnard to deliver a load of tools and auto parts when he lost control on a curve and his rig tipped over, Reid said.

Before landing on its side across both lanes, the rig's trailer clipped the back of an eastbound Bronco being driven by 26-year-old Ismael Jimenez of Santa Paula, Reid said.

The impact caused the Bronco to run off the road and snap a telephone pole guy wire before coming to rest on a dirt embankment, Reid said. Nothing spilled from the rig and damage to the pole caused no outages.

Although Contreras, who lives in Los Angeles, said he was traveling at the 35-mph limit, officers on the scene said excessive speed caused the crash. Both vehicles were damaged and had to be towed.

The crash caused backups of more than a mile in each direction, witnesses said. Officers detoured vehicles onto Santa Clara Avenue to the west and Somis Road to the east.

People trying to drop off students at the elementary school were allowed to enter a closed portion of the roadway to reach campus, Reid said.

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