East Bay

Questions Swirl After UPS Driver Crashes Truck Into Lafayette Tree, Emerges in Concord

Questions lingered on Thursday morning, hours after a UPS driver crashed his truck in the hills above Lafayette and then went missing, only to turn up later in Concord.

Police and fire crews in Lafayette spent hours searching for 44-year-old Dennis Salazar whose truck struck a tree and plunged 40 feet down an embankment along a remote road Wednesday evening, according to a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District fire captain.

The search finally ended late Wednesday night when the Fairfield man, who called 911 to report the collision, was located at a friend's home in Concord. Salazar, who was uninjured, was taken into custody, police said.

Search crews were not surprised. Deputy Rick Kovar of the county search and rescue team said that Salazar most likely walked away. People sometimes "self rescue," he said. 

Lafayette Police Department
Dennis Salazar, 44, Fairfield

The delivery truck still had a number of packages inside at the time of the crash. Lafayette police and UPS are investigating.

In a statement issued Thursday, UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said, "We are grateful that our experienced, long-service driver is safe." People whose packages were delayed were directed to the UPS website and customers will be contacted if their items were damaged during the crash, she said.  

The massive search sparked just after 5 p.m. when fire officials received a report of a crash involving a UPS truck near 1701 Hunsaker Canyon Road, fire Capt. Lisa Martinez said. According to the report, the truck had rammed into a tree and the driver was believed to have been ejected. Emergency crews first on the scene found that the truck had fallen down a steep hillside. 

The man behind the wheel, later identified as Salazar, was nowhere to be found, police said. They believe the driver's phone died soon after the call.

Lafayette police called in drones with infrared radar, helicopter assistance from Moraga and Orinda and 60 members of the county search and rescue team to scour the steep rugged terrain. Police dogs also were assisting with the search, Martinez said.

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