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134 Freeway tanker crash may have been triggered by drunk driver, says CHP

April 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fiery crash on the 134 Freeway that shut down lanes overnight in Glendale may have been caused by a drunken driver, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Authorities say the driver of a 2010 Honda Accord was traveling at a high rate of speed on the westbound 134 Freeway at about 11 p.m. Saturday when it collided with the double trailer, which was hauling about 8,600 gallons of gasoline.

The Accord then lost control and came to a stop on the right shoulder of the freeway. The Peterbilt truck's trailer crashed into a guardrail, overturned and erupted in flames. The tractor came to a stop on the right shoulder, underneath the westbound 134 Freeway transition onto southbound I-5.

It took more than 100 firefighters over an hour to get the massive flames under control. The truck briefly caught fire again as a tow truck tried to move it.

Both directions of the 134 Freeway were closed near the I-5 junction, but CHP opened the eastbound lanes shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday. By 10:15 p.m., all lanes on the 134 Freeway reopened. However, periodic lane closures are expected in the next couple of days as crews work to fully repair the damage.

About 6,000 gallons of fuel burned following the collision and cleanup crews worked to off load the roughly 3,000 gallons of gasoline remaining in the tanker.

Crews spent Sunday removing the burned tanker truck and charred debris as well as checking the safety of the freeways, workers drilled out samples of the concrete in the overpass to make sure it was structurally sound.

Hazardous materials and marine safety crews were on scene due to concern that the fuel spilled into the drains, possibly reaching the L.A. River.

So far, no injuries have been reported.

The driver of the Accord, identified by CHP as 25-year-old Hakop Maghakyan of Glendale, was arrested by LAPD, charged with driving under the influence. He was out on bail Sunday afternoon.

See photos of the gasoline tanker truck fire that erupted on the 134 Freeway near the Interstate 5 interchange in Glendale.


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