A semi-truck carrying up to 30,000 pounds of frozen Butterball turkeys took a turn too quickly Wednesday morning, flipping over on its side, spilling diesel and thousands of Thanksgiving meals headed for Costco.
But since stores can't sell food that's spilled on the road – even though the turkeys were kept perfectly safe in cardboard boxes – the poultry is instead headed to feed the hungry and homeless at the Alameda County Food Bank in Oakland, spokesman Michael Altfest said. Some of the turkeys will be shared with shelters in Contra Costa County, too.
"This is a fantastic windfall as our Food Bank heads into one of the busiest times of year," Altfest said. "Receiving this volume of meat protein is rare for us any time of year – and a donation like this simply couldn’t come at a better time. This is going to add a significant helping of holiday joy to thousands of households throughout our community.”
The shipment was handed over before noon on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately an accident happened, and fortunately low-income people in both Alameda County and Contra Costa County are going to benefit," added Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Joseph Azevedo told NBC Bay Area that the driver "got confused" when he was traveling on Interstate Highway 680 in San Ramon about 2:30 a.m. He originally tried to take the I-580 interchange, but ended up taking the Alcosta Boulevard ramp instead.
And because he was "not familiar" with the ramp, he rounded it at a "high rate of speed" and his rear trailer went out of control, Azavedo said. He hit the brakes but wasn't able to prevent his rig from hitting the guardrail, he said. Between 20 and 40 gallons of diesel spilled on the road, shutting it down for hours.
The driver and co-driver were trapped inside, Azevedo said, and had to be extricated by San Ramon Valley firefighters. The driver suffered minor injuries.
The turkeys had been headed to a wholesale distributor for their eventual delivery to a Costco in Livermore.
In July, 60,000 pounds of African jackfruit and bananas spilled on the side of Interstate Highway 580 in Livermore. The load of squished fruit went to feed the elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo.