Jarrod R. Kohls
The stretch of Highway 12 that connects Rio Vista to Lodi, ominously dubbed as “Blood Alley,” claimed another victim Wednesday as a car collision took the life of a Stockton bound motorist. 38- year old Jeffery Herbert was declared dead on the seen as his 1989 Chevy Blazer collided with an on-coming big rig loaded with paper products.
The accident marked the fourth fatality on this hallowed corridor in the past 12 months.
At roughly 11:15 a.m. Highway Patrol officers were called to the intersection of North Peatland Road just east of the Tower Park Bridge where the collision occurred.
“The freightliner was heading west on Highway 12,” said Stockton CHP Media Officer Angel Arceo. “For some unknown reason, the driver of the Blazer, who was heading east, allowed his vehicle to drift over the center divide, colliding with the freightliner head on.”
According to Arceo, the driver of the freightliner was taken by ambulance to Lodi Memorial Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.
Following the collision both the SUV and the big rig caught on fire. While the Blazer rested in flames on the asphalt, the big rig found itself nestled in an irrigation canal that ran perpendicular to the highway.
For two hours following the fatal collision, the stretch of highway between Flag City and Rio Vista was closed to all traffic as the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department further investigated the scene.
“The freightliner was carrying 150 gallons of diesel fuel at the time of the collision,” said CHP Officer Matt Lawton who was supervising traffic after the collision. “The fuel that didn’t burn during the fire drained into the irrigation canal. We are dealing with an environmental contamination hazard as well.”
Following the completion of the investigation, the dubious task of removing the charred remnants of the big rig from the ditch took place. Using the crane power of a pair of tow trucks, it took more than two hours to remove what was left of the truck’s cab after the fire was put out.