Multiple big rigs collide on I-5 near Los Angeles

AP News
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 1:09 PM
Multiple big rigs collide on I-5 near Los Angeles

A Southern California freeway tunnel where seven tractor-trailer trucks collided reopened Tuesday, eight hours after the crash in rainy weather that scattered rigs across the road that is the major West Coast route between Mexico and Canada.

The Interstate 5 truck tunnel in the Newhall area north of Los Angeles reopened at around 4:30 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said.

The chain-reaction pileup began at about 8:30 p.m. Monday when a southbound trucker lost control while traveling at about 40 mph, which was too fast for the wet road, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

The Freightliner truck swerved, hit another truck, then drove up an embankment and overturned. Another rig pulled onto the shoulder and a third braked and jackknifed across the lanes, resulting in a series of crashes, according to the CHP report.

Seven trucks were involved. One driver received a cut hand and was treated at a hospital.

The trucks involved included four tankers containing gas, crude oil, milk and chemicals but none ruptured, Los Angeles Fire Department Erik Scott said.

The pileup occurred near the site of a deadly chain-reaction crash in 2007 that involved more than two dozen vehicles and left three people dead. A truck driver speeding on the rain-slicked interstate lost control and crashed into a median barrier in the truck lane tunnel, setting off the crashes and sparking a deadly inferno, investigators concluded.

The 2007 collisions closed the busy highway for two days and cost $17 million to clean up and repair.