A crash between two big rigs closed Highway 44 for several hours this morning. Photo submitted by the CHP

Jackknife, collision close Highway 44

About 5:35 a.m. this morning, Monday, March 13, a westbound 2020 Freightliner with a load of paint entered an icy curve at Poison Lake on Highway 44, jackknifed and hit a snow embankment, rupturing the saddle tanks and spilling about 120 gallons of diesel fuel. The big rig came to rest in the roadway.

About five minutes later, a 2021 Peterbilt with an empty trailer entered the ivy curve and collided with the Freightliner. Both big rigs came to rest blocking Highway 44 and forcing its closure from the junctions of Highway 36 near Susanville and Highway 89 near Old Station.

Baljit Sindhu, 59, of Elk Grove, California, the driver of the Freightliner complained of pain and his passenger, Banjindher Singh, 35, of Elk Grove suffered major injuries. Tammy Thompson, 54, of New Orleans, Louisiana, the driver of Peterbilt, also complained of pain. All three were transported to Banner Lassen Medical Center.

Notifications were made regarding the spilled diesel, and the highway reopened about 11:05 a.m.

SEMSA, CalFire, Shasta County Fire and the California Highway Patrol responded to the scene.

The CHP reminds drivers to use caution and reduce speed when driving in the area. Many roadways are experiencing flooding and ice build up may still occur at any time.