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Van rolls over and bursts into flames on I-80 near Auburn

Two reported passengers taken from wreck with injuries
By: Andrew DiLuccia and Jenifer Gee Journal editors
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One witness described a driver?s ?valiant? effort to control his vehicle before it overturned and was destroyed by fire on the freeway Wednesday evening near Newcastle.

The rollover crash was reported at about 6:03 p.m. and occurred on eastbound Interstate 80 between Newcastle and Ophir. The No. 2 and 3 lanes were closed as fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze after the van that crashed became fully involved in flames.

Two people were reported to be involved with the accident and had minor to moderate injuries, according to early reports from the California Highway Patrol and emergency responders on scene.

Jackie Euer, Loomis resident, said she saw one of the rear tires pop and watched the driver battle to keep the van in the road way, then it began to swerve and he lost control. She said she was to the left of him when it happened doing about 70 mph.

?He (the driver) started to swerve and hold on to it and hold on to it, then he hit the wall and because he had so much speed it fell on its side,? Euer said. ?The person that was trying to control that van did a valiant effort.? Euer added, ?It was very very sad to see that van come out into traffic.?

Auburn resident Dana Haldeman said she and her 9-year-old daughter, Ashlee, could feel the heat from the blazing vehicle as they drove by Wednesday evening.

?It got super hot,? Dana Haldeman said.

The two were headed from Newcastle when they came up on the wreck. Dana Haldeman said she noticed a truck driver had initially pulled out a fire extinguisher before putting it away as the vehicle became fully engulfed.

?You don?t want to see things like that,? Dana Haldeman said. ?You just hope everybody?s OK.?