Pileup on I-80 leaves 32 hurt | TheUnion.com

Pileup on I-80 leaves 32 hurt

The Associated Press and The Union staff

ALTA – Three late afternoon crashes Sunday on Interstate 80 near Gold Run diverted traffic onto Highway 20 through western Nevada County, according to the California HIghway Patrol.

The traffic accidents on westbound Interstate 80 in Placer County injured at least 32 people, mostly from three tour buses involved in a pileup Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Three victims suffered major injuries and two of them were airlifted to area hospitals, said Diane Clader, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol. She didn’t immediately have any details of the injuries.

The incidents, which all occurred within a one-mile stretch of the highway, began around 4 p.m. when a big-rig overturned, spilling 100 gallons of diesel near the town of Alta, said Officer Richard Ruiz, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Within minutes, a motorcycle went down about a half-mile behind the big-rig, Ruiz said. And shortly after that, a tour bus that slowed down as it approached the motorcycle crash site was rear-ended by a car, setting off a chain-reaction pileup that also involved two other tour buses, he said.

The three buses, owned by Lucky Tours, were heading from Reno to the Bay Area.

The motorcylist suffered “major injuries,” Ruiz said, adding that he didn’t immediately know any details.

In addition to the three seriously injured, 29 others were taken to five area hospitals. Most were middle-aged or elderly passengers on the buses, Clader said. The big-rig driver was also hospitalized

No deaths were reported.

All westbound lanes of I-80 remained closed Sunday evening, as authorities cleaned up the diesel spill and cleared the crash sites, Ruiz said.

The cause of the crashes was under investigation.

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