About a dozen truck drivers pulled over on the side of the 15 Freeway in the Fontana area after Santa Ana winds knocked over a big rig nearby in one of several similar incidents reported across Southern California Tuesday morning.
A truck flipped on its side on the northbound 15 Freeway around 7 a.m. near the Sierra Avenue exit.
"The driver says he was trying to get off the freeway and just couldn’t get there quick enough," said Jay Strawderman, a tow truck operator who responded to the scene.
The crash happened after another truck toppled over on the 210 Freeway near the 15 along the Rancho Cucamonga–Fontana border on Monday night.
"Don’t take a chance driving next to a high profile vehicle in windy conditions. Thankfully no injuries," the California Highway Patrol said of the incident on Facebook.
The wind advisory triggered by the Santa Anas' return on Monday is effective through 10 p.m. Tuesday. In Fontana, winds were expected to gust up to 55 mph. Wind speeds reached 70 mph in San Bernardino at 7:20 a.m., the National Weather Service said.
According to forecasters, gusts in most areas have peaked as of Tuesday afternoon and will gradually weaken through the evening.
The driver of the big rig that fell on its side Tuesday told KTLA he felt swaying before the vehicle landed on the ground. He appeared to be OK, and no other injuries were reported.
Although it's the only call Strawderman's towing company has received so far, he expects similar occurrences as the Santa Anas continue to pummel the region.
"Just don’t take the chance," Strawderman advised. "It’s very dangerous, and this is proof right here of what could happen. Not just trucks but RVs, anything high-profile."
By 10 a.m., about a dozen other truck drivers had pulled over on the side of the 15 Freeway.
About 75 miles west, another big rig came to rest on its side on the eastbound 118 Freeway in the Chatsworth area at around 8 a.m., prompting a closure of all lanes at De Soto Avenue and the Topanga Canyon Boulevard on-ramp. The freeway wasn't fully reopened until just before 11 a.m.
A similar incident was reported down in Alpine.
"Drivers, please pay attention on the roads when driving through the mountains and passes today," tweeted the Weather Service in San Diego.
🚨118 FWY UPDATE🚨 EB 118 Fwy at De Soto Ave - Only the HOV lane is open for eastbound traffic as 3 heavy duty tow trucks attempt to upright the overturned big rig. Topanga Cyn on-ramp to EB 118 is also closed. pic.twitter.com/CbBIceRsau
— CHP - West Valley (@CHPWestValley) December 17, 2019
Drivers, please pay attention on the roads when driving through the mountains and passes today. Quite windy! https://t.co/mRFEPsHe91
— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) December 17, 2019