SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A good Samaritan was killed in a fiery crash along westbound Interstate 80 near Norwood Avenue in North Sacramento.
The driver stopped on the eastbound side to help a driver stranded in the westbound express lane of the Across The Top project. He took the stranded driver to get gas, then dropped them back off at their car. As the good Samaritan started to drive away, he was rear-ended by an off-duty police officer, causing the car to burst into flames.
The Across The Top project covers a 10-mile stretch from the Sacramento River bridge eastbound to Watt Avenue in Sacramento County. Work has been underway since 2011 to repave the highway and add carpool and auxiliary lanes. It’s expected to run through 2016.
During a big traffic shift for the road work last year, the California Highway Patrol reported accidents went up year-over-year in several months from 2013 to 2014.
July 2013: 13
July 2014: 30
October 2013: 16
October 2014: 34
November 2013: 13
November 2014: 26
January 2014: 9
January 2015: 45
The CHP blamed inattention by drivers for the increase in accidents.
When CBS13 wanted an update on those statistics, we found out that the CHP can’t tell us, and they can’t tell Caltrans either. A new computer system inadvertently removed their ability to look up collision statistics.
In the wake of crashes like the one on Wednesday, Caltrans likes to track them to identify potential dangers.
“What typically happens is that we may receive a weekly report, or the resident engineer of the project receives that report from the California Highway Patrol,” said Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton.
But those weekly reports of accidents and calls for service have stopped coming from the CHP.
“There are glitches that need to be worked out,” said CHP spokesman Chad Hertzell. “Right now we used be able to get real time stats for collisions in our office, now we can’t. We can pull up stats from our headquarters but it takes a lot more time.”
In March, his North Sacramento office became one of a few test offices for a new paperless computer system, but it seems the software forgot to include collision statistics. It’s an error they’re working to fix quickly.
“The goal is, very shortly in the local area to be able to pull up stats like we used to be able to in real time,” he said. “We don’t need stats to know if there’s an issue. If something in the construction zone is causing the collision, we can see it right away and tell Caltrans.”