Sleepy driver suffers major injuries in I-5 crash
Jan 28, 2013 | 3301 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This Chevrolet Silverado was totaled after it crashed into the back of a big rig on Interstate 5 early Monday morning, Jan. 28. The driver fell asleep just prior to the crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.--Courtesy photo
This Chevrolet Silverado was totaled after it crashed into the back of a big rig on Interstate 5 early Monday morning, Jan. 28. The driver fell asleep just prior to the crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.--Courtesy photo
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Two men were hospitalized Monday morning, Jan. 28 -- one with major injuries -- after the driver of a pickup fell asleep at the wheel on Interstate 5 between Patterson and Crows Landing and crashed into the back of a big rig, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Los Angeles resident Hector Torreblanca, 26, was driving a white Chevrolet Silverado northbound near the Covell Road undercrossing when his pickup crashed into the back of a Peterbilt two-axle pulling a Great Dane trailer at about 5:50 a.m., CHP Officer Eric Parsons said.

Torreblanca was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries, while his 48-year-old father, also named Hector Torreblanca, was transported to the same hospital with moderate injuries, Parsons said. Another passenger, Richard Torreblanca, 24, had minor injuries, but declined to receive transport to a local hospital, Parsons said.

Missions Hills resident Alvaro Rojas, 59, who was driving the big rig for Rialto-based Jovel Transport, was uninjured, Parsons said.

The Torreblancas were heading north to the Bay Area for work, and all three of them had fallen asleep at the time of the crash, Parsons said. The pickup initially was in the fast lane and appeared to have drifted to the right into the slow lane where it directly hit the big rig from behind, Parsons said.

While the big rig sustained relatively little damage, the Silverado was totaled. It is not clear how fast Torreblanca was driving, but the Silverado must have been traveling well more than 55 mph to sustain so much damage, Parsons said. The speed limit on I-5 is 70 mph.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appears to have played a role in the accident, only “drowsy driving,” Parsons said.

The incident should serve as a reminder to the public to be cautious when driving while tired, he said. Drivers who are feeling sleepy should take the nearest freeway exit, pull over to the side of the road and walk around a bit to wake up again, Parsons said.

“Obviously, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as distracted and drunk driving,” he said.

• Contact the Irrigator at 892-6187 or news@pattersonirrigator.com.

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