Pulp friction: tomato spill causes chaos on California motorway

Cars collide on Interstate 80 because of slippery mess

Tomatoes cover a motorway after a crash caused the contents of a lorry to spill across the central divide in Vacaville, California. Reuters
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California commuters drove into a surprise on their way to work this week after a lorry hauling tomatoes crashed into the centre divider on Interstate 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco, spilling loads of the red fruit on to the motorway.

The state's Highway Patrol said the crash occurred at about 5am local time on Monday after the big-rig carrying the haul of tomatoes collided with another vehicle and lost control. Another four vehicles skidded and crashed after they attempted to drive through the pulp.

The mess stretched about 61 metres and was up to 61 centimetres deep in places, Officer Jason Tyhurst said.

Seven cars were involved in a crash because of the slippery crushed tomatoes, he added.

One car, which became stuck on the road, was struck by another vehicle. Those two vehicles were struck by another car, and then another was hit by yet another car swerving on the mess.

Mr Tyhurst said three people suffered injuries, including the driver of the lorry, and another was admitted to the hospital with a broken leg.

The motorway was fully reopened later that afternoon, California Highway Patrol said.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 11:55 PM