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Big Rig Plunges Into Ravine

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A big rig pulling two trailers with 80,000 pounds of sand careened off Ortega Highway early Tuesday and plummeted 150 feet into a ravine, authorities said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Bernardo Reyes, 32, of San Clemente, was in stable condition Tuesday evening at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, said Officer Joan Rivas of the California Highway Patrol.

The winding mountain road was closed for seven hours to permit the difficult task of pulling the wreckage back up, Rivas said.

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A witness to the 6:45 a.m. crash said the driver of the big rig appeared to have trouble keeping his speed down, pumping his brakes and listing across the two-lane road, Rivas said.

The westbound tractor-trailer lurched off the road about 15 miles east of Interstate 5, Rivas said. The truck tumbled down 150 feet, leaving Reyes with a “major head laceration” but no life-threatening injuries, Rivas said.

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