A dump truck that likely suffered brake failure crashed and spilled debris from an overpass above U.S. Highway 101 in San Francisco onto the highway below, blocking all southbound lanes of the highway Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol and police.
San Francisco Police spokesman Albie Esparza said the truck seemed to have suffered some type of mechanical or brake failure about 8:45 a.m. on the Silver Avenue overcrossing when it flipped on its side and spilled its contents, mostly wood and drywall, onto the road below.
Southbound lanes reopened by about 3:30 p.m., but the Silver and Alemany avenue ramps remained closed, according to CHP.
A short time earlier, Esparza said the same truck crashed with another vehicle nearby on Somerset Street, causing that vehicle to flip on its side and rip out a tree from the sidewalk.
The truck then careened for a while, striking a pole and eventually flipping on its side, causing the traffic shutdown of that portion of 101 during the heavy morning commute. The California Highway Patrol estimated the highway and surrounding roads wouldn't reopen until 4 p.m. Motorists were advised to find an alternate route to Highway 280 instead.
The driver of the truck was able to climb out of the mess, Esparza said, and two people inside the other vehicle were taken to the hospital.
Johnny Padilla witnessed some of what happened.
"I saw the truck go down the hill," he said. "We heard him pumping the brakes. We heard, like ssss, ssss, ssss."
Despite the traffic nightmare, no vehicles were hit by the spilled debris, which CHP Officer Vu Williams said was "very fortuntate."