Big-rig hits minivan on Highway 46, seven people injured

July 12, 2016

helicopterFive people suffered major injuries and two were airlifted to the hospital after a semi-truck collided with a minivan on Highway 46 Tuesday morning. One of the passengers in the minivan was ejected during the collision and another was partially ejected, according to the CHP.

At 3:42 a.m., a 19-year-old Greenfield man was driving a 2012 Peterbilt truck eastbound on Highway 46. For an unknown reason, the driver crossed into the westbound lane and sideswiped a Freightliner tractor trailer.

The man driving the Freightliner pulled over to the shoulder and called 911 to report the collision. But, the man driving the Peterbilt continued eastbound on the highway.

For a second time, the truck driver veered into the westbound lane and collided with a vehicle. This time, the left front of the Peterbilt hit the left front of an oncoming Nissan Quest minivan that was carrying six people.

The minivan came to a rest on the north shoulder of the highway. The semi-truck overturned on the north shoulder and collided with two earth movers that were parked a couple hundred feet north of the roadway.

Emergency responders extricated the driver of the minivan. Five of the six people in the minivan suffered major injuries. One of the passengers suffered minor injuries, as did the truck driver.

Two medical helicopters responded to the scene and airlifted two of the victims to a hospital in Fresno. The other five people involved in the crash were transported by ambulance to Twin Cities Community Hospital or Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Authorities temporarily closed a section of Highway 46 as the helicopters were loading the patients. The highway has since reopened.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. It is not clear if drugs or alcohol played a factor in the crash.



  1. easymoney says:

    The 19 year old driver is going to pay dearly for this accident.
    The standards to get a commercial drivers license are very strict and any accident whether his fault or not is going to be on his record for a very long time…

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. Indy thinker says:

    Hijinks… I do love your speculation about a “midnight drug run” theory but he was probably heading to LA/Valley for an early morning pickup of frieght. As a transporter myself, i have left my home in the middle of the night to beat traffic and get to LA to be first in line to pickup freight at a business as it opens. Not sure a 19 year old is ready for big rig responsibilities. I was not at that age.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  3. charger805 says:

    Hijinks, I agree that for sure, my 19 year old would be a terrible candidate for driving much more than a Vespa. However, if 18 year olds can enlist or be drafted to serve in the military, 19 year Olds should be able to handle truck driving.
    It will be interesting to see if dui or distraction played a factor. I hope that everyone injured recovers quickly.

    (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  4. Mariposa says:

    First, I am so, so sorry to hear about this horrific collision and am heartbroken that five people sustained major injuries.

    Second, WHAT, HOW, WHY? Would this have happened if alcohol and/or drugs were not a factor? Absolutely horrible! Licensed drivers should be able to travel that highway day or night without fearing for their lives. Obviously, there’s still more work for CalTrans to do to make travel on Highway 46 East safer!

    (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
    • Extremely Stoic says:

      It was 3 am, the guy might just have fell asleep? Let’s see what they find

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
      • Mariposa says:

        If the details are correct as CCN reported, HOW could this 19-year-old have STAYED asleep after sideswiping a Freightliner tractor trailer? CCN reports the 19-year-old CONTINUED EASTBOUND on Highway 46 AFTER sideswiping the tractor trailer. He should have immediately slowed and come to a full, safe stop on the shoulder. Had the 19-year-old driver safely pulled over, FIVE people would not have had their lives ruined!

        (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
      • Mariposa says:

        Okay, the 19-year-old may have suffered an epileptic seizure, an aneurysm, or a heart attack. Obviously, something MAJOR since he just kept driving until he took out the Quest minivan.

        (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
        • hijinks says:

          “One of the passengers suffered minor injuries, as did the truck driver.” So, you’ve got a crummy theory. More likely drugs or texting.

          What’s a 19 year old doing driving a Peterbilt in the first place? Seems pretty immature to be trusted with safe keeping of a weapon of mass destruction. And what was he transporting? Greenfield, middle of the night run to the valley, conscious effort not to obey the law by pulling over, and avoiding contact with LEOs? Smells like a drug run.

          (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
        • Extremely Stoic says:

          We don’t know his far down the road as the minivan or the other truck he sideswiped…..50 yards? 1/2 mile?

          Too little details at this point.

          (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
  5. pasoparent5 says:

    The thought of me driving Hwy 46 at 3:40 in the morning is scary enough. I absolutely hate travelling on that road, especially in the dark.
    But throw in a teenager driving a semi-truck…a recipe for disaster.
    It’s great the mini-van occupants survived but please tell me that reckless teen truck driver will lose his license…if he even has one!

    (16) 26 Total Votes - 21 up - 5 down

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