Griffith Park: Deadly Los Angeles car wreck snarls Interstate 5
A man has died and 10 others were injured, one critically, following a fiery multivehicle collision on the 5 Freeway near Griffith Park that prompted the full closure of southbound lanes and miles of traffic Tuesday, officials said.
California Highway Patrol officials on scene said southbound lanes will remain closed until 10 p.m.
Several agencies responded to the Golden State Freeway just north of the Colorado Street off-ramp in Los Angeles just before 11 a.m. to reports of a fiery pileup on the southbound side, according to CHP.
Investigators believe a box truck heading north on the freeway lost control and went over the center divider, triggering the chain-reaction collision on the southbound side, CHP spokesman Jose Nunez said.
The crash ignited a large explosion, sending plumes of thick, black smoke into the air that were visible for miles.
When first responders arrived, they found at least eight vehicles — three commercial trucks, three passenger cars, one passenger van and a truck — involved in the collision, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said. Several vehicles were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
A total of 75 firefighters from the Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale fire departments responded to the scene and extinguished the flames, according to Andy Fox, also of LAFD.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, Fox said at an early afternoon news conference. He said a total of 12 patients were treated, but officials later updated the figure to 11, including the victim who died.
Authorities later said the victim killed was a male adult, and they described the victim in critical condition as a 27-year-old woman. Nine others who sustained minor injuries were treated at the scene also transported. The victims ages ranged between 22 to 71 years old, authorities said.
A dog was also killed.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office responded to the scene, and will identify the man killed and determine his cause of death. It was not immediately known which vehicle the victim had been in.
Meanwhile, cleanup could take hours.
A big rig, which CHP officials said had been loaded with milk, was completely destroyed in the flames. More than two hours after the collision, the truck’s burned-out shell remained across lanes in the middle of roadway.
The crash scene spanned both sides of the freeway, with one vehicle beneath the smoldering big rig on the southbound side of the road, while a pickup truck straddling the median was up against the semi, Sky5 footage showed. A car facing in the wrong direction was lodged under the back of the pickup on the northbound side.
The other commercial vehicle involved, a tanker truck, collided with the big rig and was badly damaged, aerial footage showed.
At least one of the vehicles spilled oil across the roadway, and a hazardous material team was at the scene cleaning up.
All southbound lanes were to be closed for an undetermined amount of time, and all but two of the lanes were shut down on the northbound side, CHP Officer Ryan Bejar said.
CHP issued a SigAlert for all southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway, just north of Colorado Boulevard.
Bejar was unsure how long the lanes would remain shut down, but estimated the closures could last up to four hours. The crash caused significant delays in both directions of the 5 Freeway, and authorities are encouraging motorists to avoid the area and take alternate routes to avoid the traffic congestion.
Southbound traffic is being diverted off at the 134 Freeway, while northbound vehicles are being directed off Colorado Boulevard, according to CHP’s traffic log.
Alternate routes to get around the affected stretch of the 5 included the 2, 118 and 134 freeways, according to Bejar.