Authorities reported as many as 17 people injured -- two critically — in an Antelope Valley Freeway big-rig crash that involved 19 vehicles Friday in Agua Dulce.
• A big-rig that was traveling too fast on the freeway came around a curve and crashed into a bunch of cars that had slowed down for a CHP traffic hazard stop.
• 19 vehicles were involved in the pileup.
• 17 people were hospitalized. Two of them were in critical condition.
California Highway patrol officers said that a big rig, which was hauling two trailers loaded with more than 25 tons of sand, was traveling southbound on the freeway — officially known as State Route 14 — at the time of the accident.
“At about 9:40 this morning, our units were responding to a traffic hazard,” CHP Sgt. Rick Miler told CBS News. “There was a bunch of pipes in the roadway. We had slowed traffic to clear the lanes. We had traffic stopped behind us, and (the big-rig) came around the corner, was unable to stop in time, and started a chain-reaction collision involving 19 vehicles.”
Cars were literally piled up on top of one another. Seven ambulances and 50 firefighters responded to the scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Mark Savage said. Several people were trapped in their cars. At least one person had to be extricated with the Jaws of Life.
Savage said17 people were injured altogether. Two were treated and released at the scene, while 15 others were hospitalized. Fire officials said two of the victims were in critical condition.
Bill Edger, whose pickup truck was destroyed in the pileup, told ABC News it was a miracle no one was killed.
“We were stopped for the Highway Patrol to get some debris off of the road. All of a sudden, just boom, boom boom, like four big booms. The big 18-wheeler hit a car, who then pushed another car in front, who pushed a truck that went up in the air about 20 feet, landed on a Volkswagen and an SUV, which then rammed me in my back,” he said.
“People just really need to slow down,” fire inspector Quvondo Johnson said. “This type of accident is definitely caused by speed.”
CHP officers said it was not yet clear whether the big-rig driver would be cited or arrested.
Traffic was backed up for miles. All southbound lanes and two northbound lanes of the freeway were closed for almost five hours while officials cleared the accident and conducted a preliminary investigation.
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