Witnesses say big rig's brakes were smoking before it plowed into 20 other vehicles

Police say that brake failure is to blame for a massive fiery pileup crash in Santa Cruz, California, this morning.

The crash happened just before 10 a.m. in the northbound lanes of Highway 1, according to CBS San Francisco.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) says that a truck that was fully loaded with clay or dirt was traveling between 30 to 40 m.p.h. when it collided with stopped traffic, causing a pileup crash involving approximately 20 other vehicles. Police say that the truck was still traveling at a high rate of speed when it “hit the last car at full force, broke the wheels off the truck and came to a stop.”

Several vehicles including the truck caught fire after the crash.

At least nine people were hurt in the crash, including the truck driver. At least two people are listed in critical condition.

Witnesses told CHP that they saw the truck’s brakes smoking prior to the crash.

CHP Sgt. Grant Bowles blamed the pileup crash on brake failure. He said, “the preliminary investigation is he lost his brakes and came up to stopped traffic and he struck the center median before plowing through 20 cars — going 1,000 feet.”

“With all the carnage, this is one of the worst ones I’ve seen. Thankfully, no one was killed,” said Bowles.

CHP will be investigating whether the truck was overweight.