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Nevada County wreck UPDATE: Authorities recover victims of fatal fuel tanker wreck

Authorities responded Wednesday morning, Jan. 31, to a wreck involving a truck and a fuel tanker near Highway 20 and Interstate 80.
Credit: Steve Corso

Thursday, Feb. 1

UPDATE at 9:06 a.m.:

Placer County authorities said autopsies are scheduled today for the two victims of Wednesday’s fatal wreck, though no identification is expected today.

Chief Deputy Coroner David Clark said it’s possible dental records could identify one person. The other identification likely will require a DNA analysis.

The first identification could take days, if dental records are available, Clark said.

“DNA takes a while,” he added. “Could be a couple of weeks, maybe a month.”

UPDATE at 8:45 a.m.:

Authorities have recovered the bodies of two people who died in Wednesday’s wreck, CHP Officer Chris Nave said.

Identifying the deceased is expected to take an extended period of time, because of the condition of the bodies, Nave added.

Highway 20 remains closed. Nave said it’s possible authorities might reopen it this afternoon.


UPDATE at 2:24 p.m.:

Both drivers involved in the wreck have died, CHP said.

“It’s a double fatality,” Officer Chris Nave said. “Solo occupant per vehicle. It’s unknown if the injuries were due to the collision or the fire afterward.”

The bodies haven’t been recovered. Authorities still can’t approach the scene because of the flames, Nave said.

Highway 20 likely will remain closed for several more hours and possibly into Thursday, he added.

According to Nave, the fuel tanker was traveling southbound. The tow truck was going north.

“How the collision happened, that’s still under investigation,” he said.

UPDATE at 1:21 p.m.:

Kilroy’s Towing Service in Grass Valley said one of their trucks was involved in the wreck. The business had no further information.

UPDATE at 1:03 p.m.:

Mary Eldridge, public information officer with Cal Fire, said the fire from the wreck hasn’t reached nearby trees and vegetation.

UPDATE at 11:56 p.m.:

CHP states that Highway 20 is closed from Uren Street in Nevada City to Interstate 80. There’s no estimate when the road might reopen.

UPDATE at 11:35 p.m.:

CHP Officer Chris Nave said authorities can’t yet reach the wreck scene because of the flames, which reach 40- to 50-feet high. The status of the occupants is unknown.

“We’re waiting for the scene to be safe before we can approach,” he said.

UPDATE at 11:06 a.m.:

The California Highway Patrol states Highway 20 is closed eastbound in Nevada City and westbound at its intersection with Interstate 80.

UPDATE at 10:42 a.m.:

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.”

UPDATE at 10:30 a.m.:

Dispatchers advise the wreck is closer to Highway 20 and Lake Spaulding Road. A Caltrans sign on Interstate 80 says that Highway 20 is closed.

UPDATE at 10:25 a.m.:

Dispatchers report the fire is spreading to trees and nearby vegetation.

Initially posted:

A Wednesday morning wreck involving a pickup truck and a fuel tanker resulted in an explosion at Highway 20 and Interstate 80, authorities said.

The crash happened around 10:10 a.m. Dispatch reports that the fuel tanker exploded, is on fire and that one driver might still be inside a vehicle.

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