Leo Cabrera was behind the wheel of the tanker truck at about 5:15 a.m. when a Land Rover swerved in and out of traffic and slammed into his truck near the Crenshaw Boulevard exit.
Both vehicles smashed into the center divider and burst into flames, killing Cabrera and the driver of the SUV. The driver of the Land Rover has not been identified.
The fiery wreck shut down part of the 105 Freeway for more than 14 hours.
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Cabrera was married with three young children. His wife Linda said in a statement that she lost her best friend and better half.
"He was a hardworking man, loved his family very much -- always smiling, thinking of others. He had a big heart. He gave me the most beautiful 12 years of marriage and three beautiful babies," she said. "(They're) hurting for their daddy. He came home every morning straight to give us all kisses when we were home sleeping. We miss those."