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Cement Truck Plummets to Freeway in Fiery Accident; 2 Drivers Killed

A truck runs into a BMW stopped for a light in Rancho Cucamonga, then plunges from an overpass into lanes.

August 04, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A cement truck speeding down a sharp incline in Rancho Cucamonga crashed into a car Tuesday, igniting both in a ball of flame, then careened off an overpass onto westbound lanes of the Foothill Freeway, authorities said.

Both drivers died in the crash, but the falling truck missed cars on the freeway.

A San Bernardino County sheriff's official said a BMW was stopped at a light on southbound Haven Avenue at Alta Loma Drive about 2:50 p.m., when the cement truck coming downhill slammed into the back of it.

The entangled vehicles continued south about 500 feet to where the street crosses the freeway. On the overpass the truck, scorching the guardrail and chain-link fence, lost its eight-tire wheel assembly and plummeted about 30 feet to the freeway.

It narrowly missed a car carrying a vacationing couple and their dog, authorities said.

"This is a horrific accident and very tragic, but the fact that it did not happen in peak hours -- that's a blessing," said Jodi Miller, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

Authorities said the truck driver was a 59-year-old man from Riverside and the car driver was a 52-year-old woman from Rancho Cucamonga. Their names were not released.

Authorities don't yet know what caused the accident.

Three miles of the westbound Foothill Freeway from Day Creek Boulevard to Archibald Avenue were closed for the rest of the day.

They were expected to reopen by midnight, authorities said.

Surface streets were choked for hours as traffic was rerouted.

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