Highway 152 runs from Watsonville in south Santa Cruz County to Highway 99 about 30 miles north of Fresno. This stretch of highway is an important route for truckers who transport materials between the San Joaquin Valley and the Monterey Bay.
As the story goes, several years back, a young woman was hitch-hiking along this road, and was picked up by the trucker. The trucker killed her - the details of how, and even whether it was a murder or an accident, change from telling to telling. Sometimes she dies when the truck crashes or drives off of the road, in others the trucker murders here.
However, the stories hold that the ghost of this young woman appears in two ways - a phantom truck will be sighted driving down the road, and she is seen sitting in the passenger seat screaming. Also, it is said that lone motorists driving on the road at night have reported seeing her appear in their car's passenger seat, scream, and then vanish.
Commentary: The version of this story in which the woman appears in the vehicle of the driver seems to be a variation of the vanishing hitchhiker urban legend, but without the voluntary cooperation of the driver and without the coda of meeting a family member of the deceased individual. The story is also curious in that it seems to alwasy creep people out but good when I tell it, but the ghost doesn't appear to do anything malicious, it just appears, makes noise and vanishes. The fact that the ghost seems to simply be in torment and that it appears when we should be safe but are in fact vulnerable (controlling a 1000-pound or more piece of metal hurtling down a road) seems to add to the creep factor.
The version of the story in which the woman is seen screaming inside of a phantom truck seems to be a variation on a common "ghost car" or "ghost wagon" theme present in many stories found throughout the U.S. This version also seems ot be less frightening, due no doubt to the fact that it involves the witness seeing something, rather than having an unexplainable force appear in their safety zone.
SOURCES: Local Legend, Newspaper, Internet
Another View of Highway 152