Motorist drives off Interstate, lands in Yuba River |

Motorist drives off Interstate, lands in Yuba River

Rebecca O’Neil
Special to the Sierra Sun

A commercial box truck on westbound Interstate 80 drove off the road earlier this week, just west of Kingvale, and landed in the Yuba River, authorities said.

Officer Chris Nave of the Gold Run California Highway Patrol said his unit reported to the scene after a witness called 911 shortly after 3 a.m. Monday.

Nave said the truck’s driver reported he fell asleep at the wheel before the vehicle drifted off the highway and down an embankment, first landing on South Yuba Road before continuing down another embankment into the river.

“It’s a 40-foot drop from the freeway to South Yuba Road and another 20 to 40 feet down to the river itself,” Nave added. “So, yeah, he went for quite a ride.”

Nave said his team’s first priority is the wellbeing of the driver, who was extricated from the scene with a possibly broken femur and transported to a hospital in Reno.

Authorities couldn’t be reached Thursday about the driver’s condition.

Nave said his department investigated the driver on scene.

“We always try to make sure people aren’t under the influence,” Nave said. “The main focus is the driver’s safety and getting him treated.”

Nave said the accident did lead a Hazmat team to respond.

“Ten gallons of diesel fuel, as well as oil and antifreeze, got into the river,” Nave said.

Nave said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported to the scene to assess and address the damage to the region’s environmental health.

According to Nave, the right lane of westbound I-80 remained closed Monday morning as Five Start Towing & Transport Inc. tried to remove the vehicle from the river with a crane.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at

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