Big rig collision closes Highway 20 above Nevada City, sends one to hospital |

Big rig collision closes Highway 20 above Nevada City, sends one to hospital

A collision involving two big rigs on Highway 20 sent one driver to the hospital and closed the highway for hours Monday.

The accident happened near White Cloud campground at about 1:40 p.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Frederick.

A semitrailer driven eastbound by Christopher Banks, 45, of Oregon, was heading around a very sharp corner when its tail end crossed the double yellow line and hit a semi driven westbound by Darren Wilhite, 51, of Live Oak, Frederick said.

Banks’ truck was pushed by the collision to the shoulder while Wilhite’s semi was pushed off the road, went down a cliff and hit several trees, Frederick said.

Banks was not injured. Wilhite sustained several broken ribs and was complaining of chest pain, Frederick said. He was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. A hospital spokesman said Wilhite was discharged Monday night.

Highway 20 was closed at about 6 p.m. while tow truck drivers worked on pulling the semitrailer up to the road. According to Frederick, Wilhite’s semi was hauling about 80,000 pounds of material.

Frederick estimated the highway was shut down until about 11 p.m., adding that after the rig was towed up the hill it brought along a lot of debris that then had to be cleared back off the highway.

The truck also leaked about 150 gallons of diesel fuel into a creek, and Nevada County Environmental Health was called out to conduct the cleanup.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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