I-5 over Grapevine closed amid traffic collisions caused by snow

LEBEC, Calif. (KABC) -- Interstate 5 through the Grapevine was closed Sunday night for hours due to heavy snow and several traffic collisions.

Earlier in the afternoon, the California Highway Patrol was running traffic breaks to keep drivers going about 25 mph over the Tejon Pass. Officials said at that time they could keep the road open if they could reduce the number of accidents.

But by later in the afternoon, it appeared a number of collisions and the snow accumulation led to officials shutting down the freeway.

A winter weather advisory was in effect for the area through about 3 a.m. Monday, with snow accumulations of up to four inches possible on the Grapevine, along with gusts up to 35 mph.

The closure left many drivers stuck in the Lebec area. They were able to pull off the freeway, but local hotels had no rooms left. Many spent their time just waiting around at gas stations and rest stops, and sleeping in their cars.

Kay Bailey and her three children drove from Bakersfield to Thousand Oaks for a gymnastics event. They stopped at Magic Mountain to eat and that turned out to lose them crucial time to get back before the road was closed.

"And now we're stuck," she said. "As soon as we got off the exit we started sliding. So we're stuck in the car."

For her three kids, ages 12, 9 and 7, it was the first time they saw snow, so they did manage to enjoy themselves while they were waiting.

Drivers were advised to keep an eye on the Caltrans District 6 and 7 Twitter feeds for updates on when the freeway might reopen.

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