18-Wheeler Loaded With Asphalt Crashes into Calif. Home


It was a frightening scene in Pacifica Wednesday after a runaway gravel truck crashed into a house on a steep section of Manor Drive where crews were getting ready to do road work.

Manor Drive is one of the main routes into Pacifica, but the thoroughfare was blocked for most of the day and into the night after the devastating crash.

The accident happened at 1:30 p.m. when the truck lost control and slammed into the home at 340 Manor Drive, police said. Neighbors said the impact had so much force it shook their houses.

"It was loud. It was like someone had dropped chains and a bulldozer from about 20 feet in the air," described neighbor Bob Alberts. "It was humongous."

Wednesday night, the scene still looked like the set of a disaster movie.

Two big-rig tow trucks were trying to pull the 18-wheeler out. The truck knocked the house off its foundation and crushed a car that was parked in the driveway. A second car parked in the street was flattened and several tall trees were toppled. A tow truck driver said the truck and its load of asphalt weighed some 40,000 pounds.

"It sounded like a freight train," said area resident Paul Spinetti. "It was just amazing. There were trees all over here. It was amazing that no one got killed."

The driver of the truck rode his vehicle into the house and escaped with no injuries. The residents of the house were away from the front of the residence and also escaped injury, but only narrowly.

"The husband was in the living room and was about to go take a nap in the room that got hit but decided not to and just slept on the couch," said Drew Spinetti. "Lucky day. Someone was watching out for him."

Police said the truck was part of a street repaving project and had just pulled up with a full load of asphalt. The driver lost control on the road's steep 19 percent grade.

"The tractor trailer failed to negotiate that turn in the road and veered into the residence here on Manor," said Capt. James Tasa of the Pacifica Police Department.

A month ago on a lower part of Manor Drive, another big truck lost control and plowed into more than a dozen cars. Surprisingly, there were no injuries in that incident as well. Residents sais cars have hit homes a number of times over the years.

Dave Nava described one incident. "The house next door to them was hit three months ago by a car that was driving down Manor and lost control and did a flip and just hit the house."

Some residents said trucks should be prohibited on Manor Drive, while others said speed bumps should be installed.

"This is not the first time this has happened along here," said Bob Alberts. "I doubt it will be the last."

"We'll probably look at what caused the collision after we're done with the investigation," said Capt. Tasa. "At that point, we'll look at those other issues if we feel they need to be addressed."

Neighbors said the owners of the home damaged Wednesday just bought the house this past summer.

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