Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Early morning crash results in fuel spill, arrest

PARADISE VALLEY – A Clearlake Oaks man was arrested early Wednesday morning after he hit a semi while allegedly driving under the influence, with the crash also resulting in a fuel spill.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Raju Thakorbhai Patel, 36, said CHP Officer Adam Garcia.

Patel was driving a 2007 Honda Civic eastbound on Highway 20 east of Verna Way close to Paradise Cove when the crash happened at about 3:05 a.m., according to Garcia.

Garcia said Haraoki Saito, 40, of Sacramento was driving westbound in a 2009 Volvo tractor trailer pulling a two-axle trailer when Patel reportedly sideswiped the semi.

Patel suffered minor injuries in the collision, said Garcia, while Saito was not reported to be injured.

Along with CHP, Lake County Sheriff's deputies, Caltrans, Cal Fire and Northshore Fire Protection District responded to the scene early Wednesday due to a diesel spill on the roadway.

Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown, who was incident commander for the spill, said the collision caused a puncture in the semi's fuel tank, which released between 20 and 25 gallon of diesel.

He said the fuel covered about 200 feet of roadway across both lanes, which made it necessary to shut down the highway while the spill was cleaned up.

Brown said six Northshore Fire personnel with one engine, four Cal Fire firefighters and a Cal Fire engine, and Caltrans took care of the spilled fuel.

The firefighters grabbed their shovels and quickly went to work to contain the fuel. “It did not get into any of the creeks or off the road,” said Brown, which prevented him from having to call in Environmental Health.

Brown said the highway was reopened around 5:30 a.m.

CHP Officer Steven Tanguay arrested Patel at about 7:40 a.m., according to jail records.

Patel was booked on a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, with bail set at $5,000, his booking sheet noted. He was released later Wednesday morning.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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