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Santa Cruz Carnage On Highway 17

Sean Menefee

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Here is very random, car crash TR from my trip down to SCBB today with a few friends.


Kelly, Kris, and I ended up getting down to Santa Cruz today and we got stuck in the biggest wreck/traffic jam on 17 I've seen in a few years. Check the news article, followed by some shots Kris snagged with my camera from the backseat.


Slick road causes 'demolition derby' on Highway 17

By Nancy Pasternack



A chain of collisions on Highway 17 involving more than 15 cars over a period of about three hours made the highway like "a demolition derby" on Saturday, according to a Scotts Valley firefighter.


No one was seriously injured in the accidents, which snarled traffic for hours.


"They just kept coming," Scotts Valley Fire Capt. Butch Theilen said of the motorists, who swerved and crashed into the median and into one another during the biggest pileup — which involved a dozen vehicles.


"It was mayhem," Theilen said.


All the wrecks occurred between Laurel Road and Glenwood Drive, at or near the site where a motorist struck and killed California Highway Patrol Lt. Michael Walker on New Year's Eve.


Fog and mist coated the winding highway Saturday, and created what Thielen said is always a recipe for trouble.


"Nobody wants to slow down," he said. "They think it's dry, but that road stays wet a long time."




The 12-car pileup began, according to CHP officer Carlos Ceballos, when a southbound car slid into the median, bounced off and clipped a van, which spun out and rolled over.


Other motorists approaching the scene applied brakes and were rear-ended. A truck rolled over onto its hood, and two dogs escaped and began running into oncoming traffic.


Motorists looking to avoid the dogs collided with one another and were rear-ended, Ceballos said.


The dogs were eventually captured and returned to their owner, according to Theilen.


Dan Quinto, a paramedics supervisor, said he and other ambulance drivers shuttled between the accident site and Dominican Hospital throughout the morning and early afternoon. Several people with minor injuries were taken to Dominican as a precautionary measure.


"We've been moving a lot of people," he said, after finishing work on the multiple car wreck.


Traffic was limited to one lane throughout much of the morning and early afternoon as tow trucks and cleanup crews worked to clear away debris and damaged cars from each accident.


Backups were reported from the Santa Clara County line to Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.


Quinto said when he first approached the pileup, which covered about a half-mile stretch of road, he saw an upside-down van, an overturned truck 50 yards away, and smashed cars facing in different directions.


"I looked at the scene and tried to recreate the sequence of events in my head like I usually do," he said, "but I couldn't. It was all very odd. I said, 'Holy moly.'"



We had like 18 miles of cars in front of us!



Gotta love driving a stick shift in traffic like this.



Look how excited I look driving through all this madness. My clutch leg was about ready to fall off at this point.



Here is the truck the story was talking about. We seriously thought dude was dead after seeing the car. It's cool to hear no one died during the pile up.



Last photo of 17's demolition derby. It took us FOREVER to get from Santa Clara to Santa Cruz, but it ended up being a great day with no one down at the boardwalk, and TONS of re-rides. I'll post up a full SCBB TR here shortly, I got some great off season shots with my new D50.


Sean "Nothing like carnage on a Sunday morning" Menefee

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That's always been a treacherous stretch of road. When I was growing up in the San Joaquin Valley, we had to go over the Pacheco Pass to get to Santa Cruz--that road was notorious for pile ups, too.


Glad you made it back in one piece.

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Nice Photo TR, good that no one died!


I have seen to much car crashes in my life, where someone died! The last time it was a crash on the highway infront of me! I was the first person at the demolished car, but I couldn´t help him! The car was to much destroyed.

I learned how to help people in a 3 month course and it is really sad to see someone who died in an accident! I made that paramedic course after I had a bad crash with my car! It was on a long street, a truck haven´t seen me and wanted to drive in another street! I couldn´t stop and crashed under his trailer! The firemen needed a long time to get me out of that! Then they flew me with the helicopter to the next hospital! Nothing was broken, but I had a problem with my back and couldn´t walk the first days. Three weeks later I was home again.

I had 5 crashes in my life with a car and it was never my fault! After the big crash I started the course and with that knowledge I could help a few people till now!



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That looks like an annoying crash, I've only seen the wreckage of 3 big crashes:


1. In Ohio, a car flipped upside-down, teetering on the edge of a bridge, looking like it would fall off. It was a fatal accident, and a few weeks later, I still saw the dent in the guardrail.


2. Saw a truck flipped on its side randomly when coming from PKD. Don't know anything about this one.


3. Oh crap, this one pissed me off. All of I-95 southbound was shut down. What happened was a 3-truck accident, that caused a haz-mat leak, so they had to repave the whole highway, which took a whole day. Traffic moved litterally zero on the highway or on the side road, so to get to PKD our bus driver took one-lane country roads. Driving back on the other side seeing the accident's wreckage was disturbing.

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WOOHOO, that is exactly where I used to Live, I would walk to Scotts Valley from my house



yeah highway 17 is VERY dangerous, and of course there are morons who commute everyday and drive like lanutics



oh well, nice to see some pics from my former home

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Highway 17 is a beautiful drive, but I can see how such an incident occurred. I've driven that road in the fog if you can believe it, and wondered how I made it out of there alive.


People need to take it easy on the route. Too many people drive way too fast there.



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I refuse to drive that road with my friend now. If anyone has driven that road lately, after the summit restaraunts and the "Casa de 17" place there is an S-Turn that has a speed sign on it saying like 45 mph turn and then displays your speed. My friend has got his speed at 80 on that sign.

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