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Big rig crashes on Hwy. 101 in Santa Rosa

A big rig lost control on Highway 101 near downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday morning, slamming into the center divider and sending debris flying across the rain-soaked roadway.

The accident occurred just before 6 a.m. near the southbound College Avenue onramp, and it took several hours to clear the road, according to CHP Sgt. Ross Ingels.

It’s not clear what caused the driver to lose control, but it was raining at the time of the crash, Ingels said. When the rig slammed into the center divider, it triggered two other accidents.

The truck’s hood went flying into the northbound lane, causing another vehicle to collide with it, Ingels said. A rock or chunk of concrete hit another southbound vehicle, he said.

Elena Torres was driving her son to work in Rohnert Park when she suddenly came upon the field of debris covering the highway.

“It was so dark. I literally ran right over it and everything in my car shook,” said Torres.

She kept going because she didn’t want to get rear-ended, but after she dropped her son off at work, her 2003 Dodge wouldn’t start and fluid was leaking out of it.

“Everything’s messed up,” she said.

Firefighters had to use the Jaws O f Life to rescue the driver from the crumpled cab, said firefighter engineer Chris Skye.

After striking the center divider, the truck ricocheted across the road and ended up on the right shoulder with the cab flopped on its side, Skye said. Firefighters had to pry off the passenger side door and a section of the roof to make space to safely slide the driver out, Skye said.

The driver was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, Ingels said.

The crash didn’t snarl traffic too badly because few people were on the road at that hour, Ingels said.

You can reach Staff ?Writer Kevin McCallum ?at 521-5207 or ?kevin.mccallum@press?democratcom. On Twitter ?@srcitybeat.

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