NORTH COUNTY — In the morning hours of March 13, there were several accidents due to the rain in the North County. At 7:45 a.m. there was a two-vehicle collision on Geneseo Road, south of SR-46, in Paso Robles. No one was injured. At 8 a.m. on Northbound Highway 101, north of SR-58, there was a solo vehicle collision with a minor injury. Also on Highway 101, north of SR-58, at 9 a.m., there was another solo vehicle with no injuries reported. Shortly at 9:15 a.m. on SR-46, east off Branch Road, there was another solo vehicle collision with no injuries reported.
At 11 a.m., the final collision of the day occurred in Templeton and resulted in major injuries. During the rain, Rafael Palacios, 41, of Atascadero, was driving a 1990 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 pickup, pulling a utility trailer full of garbage, when he made a left turn from Jardine Road to eastbound SR 46 East. Palacios failed to enter the accelerated lane next to the median to safely merge onto SR 46 East. He went across all lanes and directly into the path of a 2009 Freightliner 3 semi driven by Godofredo Lainez, 44, of Salinas. The Freightliner semi struck the back of the utility trailer which then struck the back of Palacio’s pickup.
The pickup then separated from its trailer and rolled over onto is left side, trapping the occupants and blocking the eastbound lanes.
Cal Fire personnel extricated the passengers and transported to Sierra Vista Hospital. Palacios sustained major injuries and his passengers Hermelino Ayala, 58, of Santa Margarita and Alfonso Guzman, 54, of Atascadero had moderate injuries.