A box truck driver was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter after ramming into a Bay Bridge toll booth and killing a 46-year-old Catrans employee, the California Highway Patrol said.
The crash caused a multi-lane closure for nearly 15 hours, causing a miles-long backup.
Around 5:10 a.m., cars were lined up at a toll booth on the Oakland side of the bridge, when the westbound box truck hit the last vehicle in line, causing a chain reaction, according to Officer Vu Williams.
The box truck then hit a toll booth. The attendant inside, identified as Si Si Han, a 10-year Caltrans employee, was killed. The driver, 32-year-old Daniel Berk, was ejected from the truck and landed on the road, sustaining major injuries, Williams said.
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Berk, of Foster City, was taken to a hospital, Williams said.
California’s Gov. Jerry Brown order flags be lowered to half-staff to honor Si Si Han and issued a statement, extending condolences to Han’s family, co-workers and friends.
"Anne and I are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Caltrans Toll Collector Si Si Han, who died today while serving the traveling public," Brown said.
Han is survived by her husband, Ryan, and their 10-year-old daughter, Ashly, the governor said. Flags at the Capitol will be flown at half-staff in her honor.
"This tragic incident hurts us all very deeply," Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty wrote in a statement. Han is the 36th employee of Caltrans' District 4 who was killed on the job, he said.
The collision forced the CHP to shut down the northbound Interstate 880 to westbound Interstate 80 connector, the carpool flyover from westbound I-80 to the toll plaza and two westbound lanes of I-80, Williams said. Six toll booths were also closed. Motorists were asked to expect the closures to remain in effect for at least 8 to 10 hours, but lanes didn't reopen till just before 8 p.m.
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NBC Bay Area’s SkyRanger captured footage of a miles-long backup as well as cars near the toll booth zig-zagging in an attempt to get past the gridlock. The toll booth in question was wrecked by the force of the crash. A part of it flew off and was found on the road.
Capitol Corridor bus service between Emeryville and San Francisco was put on hold following the crash, transit officials said.
Although the crash scene has been cleared, drivers can expect four lanes to remain closed through the weekend in order to repair the damage. Caltrans and CHP are recommending drivers use alternative routes or hop on BART.
Caltrans and the CHP are investigating the collision.
Bay City News contributed to this report.