Investigators say just after 5 p.m. a tow truck carrying a car in the southbound lanes slammed into a pickup.
Teresa Toscano, her husband and 4-year-old nephew escaped without a scratch, but the crash was frightening.
"I kept trying to control it, then heard another smack from another side. I'm thinking about my nephew, and I just smashed into the wall. I thought we were dying right there. I thought that was it," said Toscano.
Their truck was totaled as the initial impact pushed her vehicle into the path of a semi, causing the semi to crash through the center divider.
Glen Smit, the semi driver, says he knew they were in trouble when he saw the initial crash.
"I saw him in the corner of my eye. All of a sudden, his truck is in the air," said Smit. "I believe he was paying attention to something else when he hit that car."
Investigators say given the severity of the accident, the outcome could have been much worse.
"[It's] extremely lucky the big rig was able to make it all the way across all those lanes without striking another car and not seriously injuring or killing someone," said CHP Sgt. Eric Broneer.
Amazingly no one was hurt in the chain reaction accident. But for rush hour traffic, the damage was done. Drivers were backed up for miles and both sides of the freeway were shut down to clean up the mess. Hollywood Way was advised as a detour. Traffic to Bob Hope Airport was significantly affected.
"[It was] pretty bad," said Carlos Acosta, who is from Texas. "We tried to stay as long as we could so we could avoid all, this but we're from Texas. This is something else."
The CHP says the tow truck driver will be cited for the accident.