Three I-80 crashes near Alta sends 27 to hospital, diverts traffic through western Nevada County |

Three I-80 crashes near Alta sends 27 to hospital, diverts traffic through western Nevada County

The Associated Press and The Union staff

Three late afternoon crashes on Interstate 80 near Gold Run have 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 27 people, mostly from three tour buses involved in a pileup Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The incidents, which all occurred within a one-mile stretch of the highway, began around 4 p.m. when a big-rig overturned, spilling 200 gallons of diesel, said Officer Richard Ruiz, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

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

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

At least 26 others, including the big-rig driver, were taken to area hospitals. It was unclear how many of the injuries were serious.

No deaths were reported.

All westbound lanes of I-80 remained closed Sunday evening, as authorities cleaned up the diesel spill and evaluated the accident victims, Ruiz said.

The cause of the crashes was under investigation.

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