Driver suffers major injuries as car hits big rig on Pacheco Pass

LOS BANOS -- A big rig fell over the embankment of Highway 152 after colliding with a car on Friday afternoon.

The driver of the tractor suffered major injuries and was flown to Modesto’s Memorial Medical Center while the driver of the vehicle had minor injuries and was taken to Los Banos Memorial Hospital by ambulance, according to California Highway Patrol Los Banos officials.

Cory Diaz, 35, of Wasco, was driving his 1999 Acura Integra eastbound on Highway 152 in the left lane of the highway. Oscar Mendieta, 32, of Dos Palos, was driving a 2007 Peterbuilt tractor, pulling two flat bed trailers in the right lane, according to Officer Jesse Lopez, spokesman for the Los Banos CHP office

"The guy in the car went off the left side of the road and got back on the road and hit the big rig,” explained Lopez. "Then he (the big-rig driver) lost control, went to the left, went across the center divider and both westbound lanes and down the embankment. It’s a pretty steep cliff there.

The truck went over the cliff that borders the westbound lanes, overturning several times. It came to rest approximately 200 feet down the embankment. Although injured, Mendieta was able to extricate himself from the vehicle and with assistance of good Samaritans walk up the embankment, according to the press release.

The collision investigation was being handled by Officer P.J. Gonzalez.

-Sun-Star staff