Quick-thinking driver prevents larger problem: Big-rig hits two vehicles off 92 when brakes fail

The driver of a big-rig carrying dirt talks on his cellphone after he lost his brakes on eastbound State Route 92 at the Alameda de las Pulgas exit Wednesday morning.

The brakes failed Wednesday morning on a big-rig traveling east on State Route 92 in San Mateo, causing the truck to hit two other vehicles as the driver exited to avoid stalled highway traffic, California Highway Patrol and fire officials said.

The crash was reported at 8:07 a.m. on the Alameda de las Pulgas off-ramp from eastbound State Route 92.

The driver realized the brakes were starting to fail as he was going traveling between Hillsdale Boulevard and Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo Fire Chief John Healy said.

He decided to exit on the Alameda de las Pulgas off-ramp because traffic had stopped on State Route 92 and the off-ramp goes uphill. To avoid stopped traffic on the off-ramp, the driver drove off the right side of the ramp into some foliage, Healy said.

Unfortunately, he could not avoid a Hyundai Sonata or a GMC Yukon. The truck hit both vehicles, went up an embankment and fell on its right side, trapping the driver.

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to get the man out of the big-rig and he was uninjured, CHP Officer Art Montiel said.

Healy said, “He did a good job of avoiding a bad situation and making it worse.”

The driver could have crashed into a whole bunch of cars on the highway, Healy said.

The driver of the GMC complained of pain. The driver of the Hyundai was uninjured, Montiel said.

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