Big rig flips, blocks 20 |

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Big rig flips, blocks 20

An overturned big rig blocked Highway 20 just east of Nevada City for nearly three hours Thursday, as emergency crews struggled to right the trailer while morning traffic, detoured from Interstate 80, backed up.

Two men in the truck were flown to area trauma centers.

The passenger, a man in his 20s identified as S. Aidruss of Seattle, was listed in fair condition at Sutter Roseville Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said. His arm had been trapped under the truck when the rig had turned over, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The 27-year-old driver, Haider Faki, also of Seattle, was found lying in the roadway, possibly with a head injury, CHP Officer Dina Hernandez said. His condition could not immediately be determined.

The westbound tractor hauling a 45-foot trailer loaded with dog and cat food and toilet paper turned over at about 10:19 a.m. at Harmony Ridge Road, shutting down the highway in both directions.

The accident occurred in an area of several S-curves and a steep grade, and the driver may have been going too fast, responders on the scene said.

Caltrans was rerouting all truck traffic bound for Interstate 80 onto Highway 20 due to construction on the interstate, causing a long string of tractor-trailers to move onto the smaller highway.

“We let everybody go through after the scene was stabilized, then shut it up again to clean it up,” Hernandez said. The road was cleared at about 1 p.m., she added.

Caltrans and local fire crews washed up the spilled fuel, moved the rig to the side to reopen the road, then spent hours offloading the trailer, an aching Hernandez said.

Three CHP units, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada City Police, Grass Valley Fire, Nevada City Fire, Nevada County Consolidated, the Calfire crew from Nevada City and the U.S. Forest Service crew from White Cloud responded.

In addition, an inmate crew from the state Department of Corrections assisted in offloading the trailer, Hernandez said.

A CHP commercial officer inspected the truck and trailer for possible violations.

City Editor Trina Kleist contributed to this report.