A tanker truck crashed this morning in the MacArthur Maze (a complicated series of interstate connector ramps connecting major traffic arteries in Oakland, California), exploded, and destroyed a section of it. Traffic in the Bay Area will be a nightmare until it can be reconstructed.
I'm not sure if this specific piece is part of the new construction done to repair the damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake, where a large section of highway famously and tragically collapsed. But I'm reminded of another similar accident in the Maze twelve years ago, before it was redone as part of the post-quake repair. I'd had an internship with a local news station, which ended up turning into a job. I used to work on the assignment desk, answering phones, listening to scanners, following up with police/fire departments/hospitals, etc. Anyway, on my first day I walked in and the assignment desk director immediately threw some car keys into my hand. "Here, take this reporter out to the scene!" A tanker truck, early that morning, had crashed into a divider, exploded, and damaged the highway.
It was pretty exciting, getting sent out into the field, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to be part of if you worked for a news station. We got to cross the police lines when we got there and walk around the roadway. The heat had been such that everything was melted, including things you would never imagine being meltable. The freeway suddenly looked a lot like a Salvador Dali painting.
In the accident that just happened today, the driver was injured but ambulatory enough to make it to a hospital for treatment. In the earlier accident the driver was not so lucky. The explosion had blown his cab off the freeway, where it landed several stories below on the ground. He was ejected, and I believe also decapitated. The cameraman I was with who was shooting footage said he always preferred to look at such scenes through the camera's viewfinder. Abstracted and black and white always made it easier to see.