SAUSALITO (CBS SF) — A big rig crash and fire closed northbound lanes of Highway 101 for hours starting Friday morning near the Robin Williams tunnel in Sausalito, the California Highway Patrol said.
Authorities said the crash was reported around 8:38 a.m. during the height of the morning commute. A Goodwill truck driver lost control of his rig on northbound 101 just south of the Spencer Ave off-ramp. The truck careened off the freeway, through the guardrail, tumbling down the hillside and burst into flames.
The driver was able to escape by breaking a window with his fire extinguisher before his cab caught fire. Fortunately, firefighters from the Southern Marin Fire District were able to get the flames under control before it spread to nearby houses.
“According to the driver, he was driving northbound on 101 and it felt like he hit black ice and lost control of the back end of the truck,” said Mill Valley Fire Batallion Chief Scott Barnes.
One person was injured in the crash and sent to a local hospital for treatment, but the driver of the truck emerged unscathed.
“The stars were definitely in alignment for him, including, since we had a fire,” said Barnes. “We’ve had rain all day long today. If this was in September, October, this could have been be a very different scenario.”
Northbound commuters were allowed across the Golden Gate Bridge, but were then be diverted onto to Alexander Ave. into Sausalito.
The CHP said one northbound lane had been reopened by 9:30 a.m, but there was no estimated time for re-opening of the other lanes.
Golden Gate Transit was reporting bus service delays of up to 70 minutes in the northbound direction due to the crash and fire. The KPIX 5 news van that headed over the Golden Gate Bridge to report on the accident took an hour to travel a little over six miles.
Shortly before 3 p.m., authorities announced that all northbound lanes of Highway 101 had been reopened.
The two lanes on the freeway remained closed for the extended period of time so that Caltrans crews can repair a guardrail, the CHP said.