FAIRFIELD — A 19-year-old Rancho Cordova man was killed early Monday morning when a box truck he was a passenger in hit two trees on the dirt shoulder.
The crash was reported at 3:24 a.m. on westbound Interstate 80, just west of Redwood Street. The right saddle tank of the truck ruptured and an estimated 60 to 80 gallons of diesel spilled onto the dirt shoulder. A hazardous materials team was still at the site several hours later.
Traffic backed up in the area due to what authorities described as a visual hazard, although wreckage from the crash itself did not block the roadway. A severe traffic alert was issued and signs were activated to advise motorists of the possible visual hazard.
Authorities closed a single lane for about an hour starting shortly after 8:30 a.m., and closed it again shortly before noon to have the vehicle pulled out of the ditch and towed. Responding tow truck crews cleared the scene shortly after 1:45 p.m., when all lanes were reopened. according to the California Highway Patrol website.
The truck was driven by Hilario C. Ramirez, a 24-year-old Sacramento resident. He suffered minor abrasions. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. His passenger, Andrian I. Aponte, was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
Glen Faison contributed to this report. Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.
This version updates the original to note when the crash scene was cleared.