San Mateo Bridge reopens after accidents

April 20, 2012 11:58:44 AM PDT
All lanes of the San Mateo Bridge have reopened this morning after two separate traffic collisions and a fuel leak closed the bridge in both directions during the morning commute.

Robert Krieger's 1995 pickup truck caused two accidents and an incredible backup that lasted the entire morning. The truck just quit on him at six this morning as he was driving westbound on the San Mateo Bridge. He tried to do everything right.

"I turned on my hazards and I got over to the right lane, got as close to the curb as I could and when I came to a stop, because I was rolling up hill, I got out and put a reflective triangle out," said Krieger.

But CHP officers say other drivers didn't behave as well. First, the driver of the tractor trailer; Krieger was at the call box phone when he saw him coming.

"He was moving too fast to avoid it and ran into it full speed - pretty much," said Krieger.

CHP officers say looking ahead way on down the road could have helped prevent this first crash. They call it high visual horizon.

"Had the truck seen the stalled vehicle in the lane, maybe he would have had enough time to avoid it," said CHP Spokesman Ofc. Art Montiel.

The truck was spilling fuel and blocking two lanes of traffic. The average 86,000 vehicles that travel westbound on the bridge everyday were reduced to one lane of traffic. While Krieger waited for a tow truck, he had a lot of time to watch other drivers.

"I did notice a lot of spectators trying to film it when they should be paying attention to the road and driving," said Krieger.

And that brings us to our next crash. Someone on the eastbound side appeared to be looking at Krieger's wrecked truck when that driver ran into a patrol car -- slamming it in to a fire truck. The driver suffered minor injuries.

"Had they been paying attention to the road, rather than to what is going on the other side, this could have been avoided and we would not have had all the back up on the eastbound lanes," said Montiel.

There were no other injuries in all of these accidents. About 10 gallons of oil spilled in the Bay. The Coast Guard said it was not enough to recover.

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