Spring snow squall causes 21-vehicle pileup in Sierras

| 4/18/2002

A surprise spring snowfall caught truckers and four-wheelers traveling Interstate 80 near Truckee, CA, by surprise on Monday. Slick roads associated with the squall were being blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup that closed the eastbound lanes for much of Monday.

The accident just east of Truckee occurred around 8:30 a.m. Fourteen cars, six tractor-trailers and one van were involved, the California Highway Patrol reported.

"Basically, we had a pretty severe snowstorm hit that area," said Officer Kirk Bromell. "You could almost bet that it was weather related."

Two of the big rigs rolled over. One truck spilled 300 to 500 gallons of diesel fuel, but the fuel was quickly contained and posed no threat to the nearby Truckee River, the CHP said. Four people were taken to Tahoe-Forest Hospital in Truckee where they were treated for moderate injuries.

One of the eastbound lanes was reopened shortly after 5 p.m., but the other remained closed into the night.