Truck Dumps 150,000 Tomatoes on California Interstate, Italians Weep

“Those tomato skins, man,” a CHP officer said. “Once they hit the asphalt, it’s like walking on ice.”

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Image for article titled Truck Dumps 150,000 Tomatoes on California Interstate, Italians Weep
Image: California Highway Patrol

Italians, salsa aficionados and people just generally obsessed with summer fruit should turn away from these grisly photos of 150,000 tomatoes strewn across I-80 in Vacaville, California following a truck crash early Monday morning.

A tractor trailer hauling 50,000 pounds of the delicious little tomatoes dumped over after hitting another vehicle and swerving to prevent a worse accident before dumping over the median, according to the New York Times:

Fist-size tomatoes covered eastbound lanes of the interstate across a distance of about 200 feet, creating a red mass that seemed to be about “two feet deep,” Officer Tyhurst said. He added that he was not being hyperbolic about the depth.

Soon, drivers on the interstate in the dark of early morning failed to detect the tomatoes and drove over them, essentially creating a gooey concoction of watery tomato juice, oil and dirt. Road conditions became dangerously slick.

“Those tomato skins, man,” Officer Tyhurst said. “Once they hit the asphalt, it’s like walking on ice.”


California Highway Patrol officer Jason Tyhurst told the Times that the tomatoes reached two feet deep and stretched for 200 feet down the freeway.

Unfortunately, the tomatoes became crushed by traffic and turned the road surface into a slippery mess, which led to a seven-car crash before police closed this stretch of I-80 for clean up. The agricultural area is used to a few pieces of fruit and veggies flying on the roadway, it’s almost unavoidable, but this dump of produce was remarkable. California produces an astonishing 90 percent of all processed tomatoes in the U.S., the Times reports.


California Department of Transportation clean up crews worked quickly to get drivers out of this jam, using a backhoe to scoop up the mess and then throwing a powder over the squished tomatoes before street sweeping the fruit away. If paired with the Bud Light trucks spilling its contents earlier this month, we just need a truck filled with corn chips to lose its load for a hell of an interstate party.