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210 Freeway car crash in Sylmar kills 1

May 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
One person was killed in a fiery car crash on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar early Thursday morning, officials said.

A UPS tractor-trailer truck and a 2004 Acura collided around 2 a.m. on the westbound lanes just east of Roxford Street. California Highway Patrol received the report at 2:16 a.m.

"The UPS truck tried to avoid the collision, was unsuccessful," said CHP Officer John Lutz. "However, after the impact of the collision, the vehicles rolled over the center divider just behind me here, and the cargo that they were carrying spilled all over the freeway as well as a little bit of fuel."

CHP said the wrong-way driver entered the freeway from the Roxford off-ramp going east on westbound lanes. The driver was killed instantly. The woman was not identified pending notification of next of kin.

The big rig went into the center divider and caught fire. The truck's cab and one of its trailers caught fire, but a second trailer did not. The second trailer stopped in eastbound lanes, according to CHP.

The truck driver was able to get out of the truck. He was treated for minor injuries at the scene, according to CHP.

The fire was doused by 2:38 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Dept.

A lot of packages from the truck spilled out onto the freeway. Some of them burned, but officials said most of them are salvageable. The UPS truck was en route to Bakersfield fully loaded with packages.

The accident prompted the closure of all westbound lanes. They were reopened just before 11 a.m.

Caltrans engineers were still on scene nine hours later checking the integrity of the center divider of the freeway.

"We've got environmental services helping with the fuel cleanup as well as we've got a tow company and UPS working in conjunction with each other and offloading the remaining rigs and the product from the trucks," said Lutz.

Two crashes clogged alternate routes, at the 5 and Sheldon Street, and at the 5 and the 405, making getting out of the Valley in the morning a traffic nightmare.

Investigators were working to determine whether the driver was impaired.

Correction: It was earlier reported that the big rig was a FedEx truck instead of a UPS truck.


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