Authorities say Highway 20 wreck kills two, shutters highway
Authorities say they’re investigating a Wednesday morning fatal wreck involving a fuel tanker that killed two people and sent flames 40 to 50 feet into the air.
The crash, involving a Kilroy’s Towing Service truck and a Stockton-based Williams Tank Lines fuel tanker, happened around 10:10 a.m. on Highway 20, near Bowman Lake Road, in Placer County. The head-on collision caused an explosion that spilled fuel, sent flames into the air and filled the sky with thick smoke, the California Highway Patrol stated.
Authorities haven’t released the names of the two drivers killed in the crash. California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Nave said the flames kept first-responders from nearing the wreck scene.
Lt. Andrew Scott, with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, said coroner deputies will investigate the deaths.
Support Local Journalism
“But right now we’re not prepared, nor can we, identify who they are,” Scott said.
The wreck led to the closure of Highway 20 from Nevada City to Interstate 80. Authorities said Wednesday afternoon the road could remain closed until today.
Passerby Steve Corso said he was one of the first people on the scene of the wreck. He saw the tanker overturned and a large fire.
“I had to back off because stuff started exploding,” he said. “It looks like a lot of oil is burning.”
Several agencies responded to the scene, near Highway 20’s intersection with Interstate 80. The crash led PG&E to cut water flows into the Drum Canal and shut down the Drum powerhouse, said Brandi Merlo, spokesperson for the utility.
“At this time there’s no indication that any fuel or oil spilled into the Drum Canal,” Merlo said. “But we’re going to monitor the situation.”
Susan Lauer, communications specialist with the Nevada Irrigation District, emphasized that Grass Valley, Nevada City and the Scotts Flat Lake area are served by the South Yuba Canal.
“This area is unaffected by the accident or any potential spill,” she said.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Connect with needs and opportunities from
Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.