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Choking trucker causes fatal Northern California highway crash

A CHP officer looks at the burned big rig and automobile that were involved in a multi-vehicle fatal crash on eastbound I-80 at Old Davis Road on March 28, 2013 in Davis, Calif. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Paul Kitagaki, Jr.)

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.

DAVIS — A big rig driver choked on food and lost consciousness on a highway near Sacramento on Thursday morning, leading to a crash that killed two people and injured three others, including the truck driver, authorities said.

The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. on Interstate 80 near Davis, which is about 15 miles west of Sacramento.

The tractor-trailer driver was in the eastbound lanes when he lost consciousness, drifted onto the right shoulder and then veered sharply to the left, going across the highway and over the center divider, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Parker said.

He regained consciousness, but not in time to avoid an oncoming BMW. The vehicles collided head-on and burst into flames.

The driver of the BMW and a second person in the vehicle died, said Deputy Tenzin Dorji of the Solano County Coroner's Office.

The truck driver suffered minor to moderate injuries, including burns, Parker said. His truck also collided with two other vehicles as it went across the highway, leaving two other people with minor to moderate injuries.

Authorities haven't released the identities of the truck driver or the BMW driver.

The highway was shut down in both directions for hours, but all lanes reopened just after 5 p.m., Parker said. Caltrans will likely shut down a few lanes later in the evening to repair asphalt damaged in the fire, he added.

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