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Three hurt in I-5 crash near Willows
Three people were hospitalized today after a highway maintenance truck was rear-ended on Interstate 5 south of Willows.
According to the California Highway Patrol, two undercover officers with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management were traveling more than 70 mph south in a silver 2009 Ford F-150 with Nevada license plates just before 10 a.m.
The officer who was driving, David Burns, 55, of Redding, told investigators he was talking on his cell phone and did not see a Caltrans maintenance truck, working as the traffic safety vehicle, moving slowly in the passing lane ahead of him, authorities said.
Caltrans was setting up to perform routine maintenance on the median strip of the freeway under the County Road 60 overpass. At least one other Caltrans vehicle was on scene at the time of the crash, but was not involved.
The Ford passenger – William Taylor, 38, of Redding – was taken by helicopter to Enloe Medical Center in Chico with “major” internal injuries, according to the CHP. Taylor was listed in “fair” condition Thursday evening.
Burns and the Caltrans worker, Patrick McCann, 61, of Chico, were taken by ambulance to Glenn Medical Center in Willows with “minor injuries,” Van Houtte said.
Both men were treated and released a short time later, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed.
No other injuries were reported.
The Ford crashed into the maintenance truck’s rear-mounted crash cushion, likely preventing “significant injuries,” said Tom Golden, a Willows Caltrans supervisor.
Known as a “portable impact attenuator,” the approximately 10-foot-long device attaches the rear of large trucks to help absorb the shock of a crash impact, Golden said.
The crash cushion “really did its job,” he said at the scene.
Traffic was backed up on southbound Interstate 5 as emergency crews cleaned up the scene. Motorists were directed around the crash on the freeway shoulder until traffic was opened to both lanes around 11 a.m.
Contact Rob Parsons at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.