Truck Takes Wrong Exit, Snarls Traffic

A trucker who took the wrong road Tuesday tied up traffic at the Seaward Avenue offramp from the Ventura Freeway for more than seven hours.

Veteran trucker Ron Tardiff was driving his 100-foot-long, crane-carrying transport truck to Casitas Dam on the northbound Ventura Freeway when he took the Seaward offramp at about 7:30 a.m.

At the top of the offramp, he realized the rig was too long to make the left turn onto Seaward. Even if he could have made the turn, Tardiff later said, he was way off course.

"The permit information he was given was not correct," said California Highway Patrol Officer Philip Meschke. "He should have been directed to take surface streets, but he was given directions on the highway that could not be completed with the load he was carrying."

Northbound traffic coming off the freeway at Seaward was diverted east while the congestion was cleared.

Officers spent much of the day trying to determine if the bridges in the area could support the oversized load.

"Our greatest concerns are the load bearing and being able to make turns," Meschke said. "There was not a chance in the world that he would have been able to make that turn with an oversized load."

Tardiff, who is employed by Frazer Transport of Missoula, Mont., was transporting construction equipment to the Casitas Dam from Henderson, Nev.

"I've been driving trucks for 21 years, most of them big trucks. This is the first time I've traveled through Ventura County," he said. "I think they sent me on a scouting party because they have larger trucks coming after. I think we need to talk to Caltrans and all the other city and county people because we don't want a party like this one."

Tardiff said his experience helped him avoid worse trouble. "My experience told me to stop and say, 'Now what?' I could have done it like a rookie and there would be blocked traffic on there, too," said Tardiff, pointing to Seaward Avenue.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World