Semi and pickup collide on Hwy. 46; major injuries reported

A crash Tuesday morning on Highway 46 East near Jardine Road in Paso Robles injured three people, one seriously, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash happened about 11 a.m..

At that time, 41-year-old Rafael Palacios of Atascadero was driving a 1990 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 pickup towing a utility trailer full of garbage and made a left turn from Jardine Road to Highway 46 East, according to the CHP.

Palacios didn't enter the acceleration lane next to the median to safely merge; instead he went across all lanes of the highway into the No. 2 lane, cutting right in front of a semi truck, the CHP said.

The semi's driver, 44-year-old Godofredo Lainez of Salinas, wasn't able to stop in time and collided with the back of the trailer, officials said. The impact pushed the trailer into the pickup, unhitched the trailer and caused the pickup to roll onto its left side, trapping the three occupants and blocking the eastbound lanes of the highway, according to the CHP.

Cal Fire responders extricated the occupants and all were taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Palacios was seriously injured as a result of the crash. The other two passengers in the pickup, 54-year-old Alfonso Guzman of Atascadero and 58-year-old Hermelino Ayala of Santa Margarita, suffered moderate injuries.

Lainez was not injured, officials said.

Tribune photographer Joe Johnston contributed to this story.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that the crash was on Hwy. 46 East.