UPS big rig swerves to avoid hitting car, overturns, catches fire on US Highway 101 in Cotati

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A UPS truck carrying a load of packages headed to Ukiah swerved to avoid another car on Wednesday morning, and ended up overturning and catching on fire, blocking lanes of traffic for hours, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officer Kimberly Lemons said the UPS driver told authorities that he was driving northbound on US Highway 101 at the W. Railroad Avenue exit in Cotati about 4 a.m., when another car hit a guardrail in front of him. He couldn't get out of the way in time, and his rig overturned and caught on fire. Lemons said the driver was able to get out of the rig, breaking his arm in the process. But she noted it could have been much worse.

The other driver fled the scene.

At 6:40 a.m., three of the lanes remained blocked because of the accident and the CHP estimated it would take several hours to formally clear the scene. The northbound lanes are in the non-commute direction.