395 re-opens after fatal accident


US 395 re-opened at 3:40 pm



On the early morning of Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at approximately 3:45 am, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a possible explosion. A single big rig semi-tractor trailer had failed to negotiate the turn at Hwy 182 and Hwy 395 in Bridgeport. The semi tractor-trailer went over the bridge, landing on the embankment of the East Walker River, where the big rig became fully engulfed in flames upon impact.

Big Rig Accident_6 (1)


Mono County Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers, Bridgeport Fire Department, Mammoth Lakes Fire Department Hazmat Team, Mono County Paramedics, and Caltrans all responded to the scene. Upon arrival it was determined that the driver was killed in the crash. As of 6:20 am, fire crews are still working on putting out the big rig fire.

Until further notice, Hwy 395, both north and southbound, is closed out of Bridgeport. All traffic heading northbound towards Bridgeport will be detoured at Hwy 182, to Nevada 338, to Nevada 208, and back to Hwy 395. For those travelers heading southbound from Nevada, you will be detoured from Hwy 395, to Nevada 208, to Nevada 338, to Hwy 182 and back onto Hwy 395. All local roads will remain open at this time to help detour traffic around the crash site. Hwy 395 will remain closed until the accident scene is clear and the bridge is determined via Caltrans to be safe to drive over.

Updates will be available as the investigation into this accident is conducted. The California Highway Patrol will lead the investigation into the actual cause of the crash and will work in conjunction with Caltrans on the condition of the bridge and the re-opening of Hwy 395. The Mono County Sheriff’s Office will lead the investigation involving the death of the driver.

– Written and prepared by: Jennifer Hansen, Public Information Officer


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9 Responses to 395 re-opens after fatal accident

  1. Tim May 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    I would like to see follow up on this sad story.
    My guess is that there was another vehicle or an animal that caused the trucker to swerve and loose control. 395 and the truckers that I encounter on the road, wherever they are, have my full attention and respect. I drive the highway often and continually see people texting while driving, passing dangerously, and speeding.

    • Big AL May 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      Just a thought ….

      An animal or another car is one scenario, but a fair amount of truck drivers out there today, have no business driving trucks let alone a Volkswagen.

      I can not say what happened here .. Your speculation Tim is one scenario for sure.

      I have worked around a lot of truckers, and your feelings of attention is well sounded, and should be heeded, there are so many things I see truckers do daily, that deserve my attention, but not respect.

      Respect is earned and some truckers gain my respect while others gain my disdain. I talked to a big rig tow truck driver once, he related a story about a CHP officer who stopped a female truck driver (who worked for this same carrier) who had come off of Sherwin grade at 80 MHP, when he did get her stopped a ways down the road. She told him … “I didn’t realize you had to gear down for that grade”.

      She lost her brakes at some point trying to keep the truck speed down, it only takes a few application of the brakes at high speed on a steep grade to fade your brakes, then you have nothing.

      This was her first solo trip, before that, she had been driving Reno to state line east on I 80. She was not very well trained, if she didn’t know to gear down, and she probably never stopped at the brake check area, most drivers do not.

      There are some excellent female truck drivers out there, and there are some that can’t drive for beans, as is the case with male truck drivers.

      I do respect some truckers though, as with anything .. there are those who make a difference. My brother is a long haul driver, he even tells me, all of the stuff he sees other drivers do .. Idiots he says!

      It’s sad this young man lost his life because of .. what ever happened, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  2. Wayne Deja May 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Tim…Bet your right..I did an accident clean-up in Olancha a couple years back when a big-rig tried to dodge cattle in the road and crashed up and into a tree,then bursting into flames.Question…Where this accident happened,is this the bridge coming into town if your headed north into Bridgeport ?

    • Tom O. May 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Yes its that bridge right where you make the left turn into town…R.I.P.to the truck driver

  3. Tom O. May 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Nice to know that the cave men were doing ‘climate study” while trynig to kill off the Mammoths

  4. Big Rick OBrien May 15, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Was there any environmental issues with the river ? I remember a fuel tanker went into the east Walker a few years back( on New Years eve ) and did all kinds of damage even though the river was mostly froze.

    • Wayne Deja May 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Big Rick…How about the time,back in the mid 80’s when that tour bus crashed into the Walker River near the town of Walker,killing twenty-something senior citizens….Didn’t that result in a big diesel spill into the river too ?..I can remember going by that scene a couple days after the accident happened on the way to Carson City….a LOT of damage to the guard-rails,and the deep brake marks on the road.. so obvious the driver of the bus was going WAY too fast around that curve.

  5. Desert Tortoise May 15, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Having many years and over a million miles driving trucks, I am going to bet the driver simply fell asleep. I’v lost a couple of driver friends that way, driving gasoline tank trucks. The industry over works and under pays it’s drivers. There are constant time pressures to meet delievery or pick up deadlines that, combines with the low pay, motivate drivers to work beyond the legal hours of service, speed and cut corners on pre-trip inspections and for fleets to cut corners on routine maintenance to keep trucks on the road hopefully generating revenue for their owners.

    I knew drivers who’s alimony and child support payments were more than my rent, so they would work any hours they could and gladly falsified logs and pay records to earn enough to pay the mountain of bills they accumulated. Dispatchers loved them because they would do any job and any time.even if, by law, they should be out of service. As a result you see a lot of drivers driving too fast, driving trucks with broken springs and bad brakes, and falling asleep at the wheel. There are simply too many trucks on the road and too many small fleets for the CHP to ride herd on all of them effectively, and the anti-regulatory environment today has permitted the FHWA to be de funded, affecting how often their inspectors can inspect fleets nationwide. The result is the trucking industry is running feral and honest operators are put at a pretty severe competitive disadvantage today.

    • Big AL May 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

      You’re right about a lot of points there DT I am not hosing truckers, just pointing out some things I have observed. There has to be some regulation, because, as you say, the companies and drivers would be totally out of control.

      This accident occurred about 3:30 – 3:45, he either fell asleep, or he was inattentive. I don’t think he was doing the speed everyone was speculating (70MPH). At that speed, he would have made it entirely across the bridge. I think he was only doing 55 – 60MPH. He was pretty much still in the lane, but munched the guardrail and then slammed the bridge rail with the left center of his rig. He must have started into the guard rail lightly, but then rubbed it hard, it was in one piece laying across the bridge deck in the aftermath. By the time he impacted the end of the bridge rail, the truck was pretty much off the road, the left of the radiator impacted the concrete rail.

      The big companies like the owner of this rig are pretty powerful like you say, and this company is one of the worst safety offenders. The good driver usually end up moving onto a better carrier or try their own hand at it, they don’t stay with the company longer than their obligatory period of employment to pay for their training.

      the other side of this story, is that they run these drivers through the training mill, and put them out there behind the wheel. Some should not be in those trucks!


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