Driver killed in I-5 crash identified as Oregon man
Northbound Interstate 5 traffic was backed up nearly four miles after the deadly wreck on Oct. 16.
The man killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 5 two weeks ago has been identified as a Woodburn, Ore., resident, the Colusa County Coroner's Office reported this week.
Robert E. Vanderzanden, 77, was the driver of a 1988 Porsche 944 that crossed over from the southbound lanes and hit the front-left of a northbound big rig on Oct. 16.
The Coroner's Office is still waiting for toxicology reports to determine whether Vanderzanden was still alive when his car was engulfed in flames.
The crash occurred about 9:30 p.m., about a mile south of the Husted Road exit.
The driver of the truck and trailer, Hardip S. Takhar, 35, of Woodland, reported seeing the headlights in the distance, but by the time he realized the car was coming at him, it was too late to avoid the collision.
"I tried to stop," said Takhar, who was driving the big rig for Kharod Enterprises of Fremont.
Takhar said he saw the headlights in front of him, but the Porsche was only about 100 to 150 feet away when he realized it was in the center divide and coming toward him.
"I slammed on my brakes and just tried to control my truck," he said.
The Porsche was mangled and charred after it skidded to a stop on the shoulder. The driver was trapped inside, the CHP reported.
The big rig also sustained extensive damage to its front end.
Takhar and his passenger, Sarabjit Singh, 59, of Woodland, were not injured.
The truck was reported to be going about 55 mph, the CHP said.
Between 400 and 500 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled, mostly off the driving lanes, the CHP reported.
Northbound traffic was backed up nearly four miles and slowly rolled past the accident scene.
No driver who might have witnessed the Porsche's path stopped at the scene.
It was the fifth road death in Colusa County this year, all but one since Sept. 21.
They involved four accidents.
The first occurred on the Memorial Day weekend, CHP Officer John Waggoner said.