Quincy resident Joan Gately suffered major injuries in a crash involving two semis, which closed Highway 70 for a couple of hours yesterday, Dec. 16.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Maria Thunder, 47, of Reno, was driving a UPS combination — 2019 Kenworth pulling a 2004 box trailer loaded with packages and a 2008 box trailer half loaded with parcels — eastbound on Highway 70 just east of Quarry Road at an estimated speed in excess of 45 mph.
Todd Duckworth, 48, of Orland, was driving his combination of vehicles — a 2001 Peterbilt tractor pulling two 1990 flatbed trailers loaded with lumber — eastbound on Highway 70 at a stated speed of 45 mph behind the UPS truck and trailers.
Joan Gately, 63, of Quincy was driving her 2018 Rav-4 westbound on Highway 70 approaching Quarry Road at an estimated speed of 50-55 mph. Thunder was driving the UPS combination of vehicles at an unsafe speed and she forcefully applied the brakes of the semi as it was entering a sharp right hand curve in the roadway. The trailer tires of the rear trailer locked up as the trailer left the eastbound lane and entered the westbound lane.
Gately saw the UPS trailer entering her lane and began moving over to the right side of her lane. The left rear corner of the UPS trailer struck the left rear door and quarter panel of the Rav-4. This impact redirected the Rav-4 into the west bound lane. The Rav-4 then impacted with the Peterbilt head on. The Rav-4 was thrown onto the north shoulder of Highway 70 facing west.
The Peterbilt’s steering system was destroyed during the impact and Duckworth could not steer it. The Peterbilt initially drifted to the right side and struck the guardrail on the south shoulder and then it crossed the centerline and began jackknifing in the westbound lane. The Peterbilt jackknifed as it struck the mountainside on the north shoulder. The Peterbilt came to rest facing west on the north shoulder; the first trailer came to rest facing north completely blocking the west lane, and the second trailer came to rest facing east straddling both lanes. The UPS combination of vehicles came to a stop in the eastbound lane just east of the collision site.
Gately had to be extricated from the Rav-4 with the assistance of the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department. She was flown to Enloe Medical Center with major injuries. Neither of the other two drivers were injured during the collision.