This big rig tipped over on Highway 243, just north of the Keenwild Ranger Station, Friday evening, April 26. Traffic obviously was impeded, but the California Highway Patrol was able to keep the road open. Photo by Steven King

An AMS commercial paving truck towing a trailer with a pavement grinder overturned on Highway 243 about 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, as it was heading southbound. The incident happened about 1 to 1.2 miles north of Mountain Center (past the U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station toward Idyllwild).

The fuel tank spilled about 60 to 80 gallons of diesel fuel onto the roadway, according to Acting Idyllwild Fire Chief Mark LaMont.

The driver of the truck, Ismael Lopez, 53, of Bloomington, suffered minor injuries and no other vehicles were involved, according to Officer Darren Meyer of the California Highway Patrol.

Saturday morning, April 27, hazmat crews were still cleaning up the fuel spill from the truck that overturned Friday evening. Photo by JP Crumrine

Meyer said the posted speed limit on the right-hand curve was 20 mph, and Lopez was going 30 mph, too fast for the roadway and the cargo. The trailer tipped over because the grinder weighed 48,000 pounds.

Riverside County Hazmat was dispatched. Cleaning of the scene began Friday night and continued Saturday morning. Heavy-duty tow trucks also arrived and cleared the roadway. 

CHP officers directed other vehicles around the crash utilizing alternating, one-way traffic control.

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