I-5 north closure in Gorman leaves drivers stranded

It's a major north/south route thru the Golden State so when I-5 is shut down it is a huge problem. Not just an inconvenience for those trying to get home from LA to say Bakersfield or Sacramento, but for truckers who make their living hauling everything from spaghetti sauce to paper plates to cars up and down the state.

I spoke to Steve Francis, who spends 26 days out of the month on the road, goes home to Tuscon for four, pays bills, and leaves again. He's a carpenter by trade, that work went away he said, so he's an independent trucker. He gets paid 41 cents a mile, can work up to 14 hours a day, and he hopes, in the case of an unexpected forced layover like last night, that he gets paid $20 dollar per hour for waiting to bring his paper cups from Ontario to Fresno, while he's on the clock.

He slept in the bunk in his cab in Castaic last night, which is nothing new, but nothing fabulous or comfortable I can assure you.

Roman Jarcenko is in a similar situation. He leases his truck, so is more of an independent businessman. He was hauling pasta sauce from L.A. to Oregon, expected to net about $500 dollars after expenses, figures he's lost about 2 days of work, because he may not be able to get a return load up north once he finally gets there an unloads the good.

Then there are the ''regular'' motorists who are more annoyed and uncomfortable than hurting financially. Sergio Esparza, a big guy at about 6'2'' and 220 pounds, spent the night in the Chevon parking lot by the I-5 on ramp in Gorman, wedged into the back seat of an ancient small black Toyota. As he put it, ''it wasn't fun. It was cold and I didn't have no food or water. I wasn't prepared.'' I believe him.

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