DIAMOND BAR — A crash involving a big rig and two Caltrans vehicles injured nine people, including a truck driver who became trapped in his wrecked tractor-trailer for more than an hour, authorities said.
The crash took place just after 10 a.m. on the eastbound 60 Freeway, just west of Grand Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol logs.
“On arrival, we found four vehicles off the side of the freeway– two Caltrans vehicles and two trucks,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora said.
The crash primarily involved the big rig, a Caltrans truck carrying an arrow board and a van being used by Caltrans, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez. A passing Dodge Ram pickup truck was struck by debris from the crash, however no one inside was hurt.
The big rig was being driven by a 54-year-old Lakewood man and was hauling tools used to repair refrigeration equipment, California Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora said.
The Caltrans vehicles were parked alongside the road, Jimenez said. The arrow board truck contained one Caltrans employee, and the van contained four members of a court ordered freeway cleanup crew.
Outside the Caltrans vehicles were two Caltrans employees and two more members of the court ordered work crew.
The big rig was traveling in the second lane from the right when, for unknown reasons, it veered to the right, collided with the arrow board truck, went off the roadway and overturned, Jimenez said.
The arrow board truck was pushed forward into the van, the officer said.
The big rig driver became trapped in the cab of his truck, according to CHP and fire officials. Firefighters worked for more than an hour to free him from the wreckage.
He was flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with “moderate to major” injuries,” Jimenez said.
The six freeway cleanup crew members and two Caltrans employees were treated for “minor to moderate” injuries, he added. One of the Caltrans employees was unhurt.
All of those at the scene were described as men.
Initial CHP reports from the scene indicated the big rig was smoking and leaking fuel.
Firefighters kept hose lines in place as they worked to free the pinned driver in case of fire, Mora explained, as is normal procedure whenever dealing with a person trapped inside a vehicle.
Even after the patients had been hospitalized and the vehicles cleared from the road, officials then had to clean up 100 to 200 gallons of diesel fuel that had leaked from one of the vehicles trucks, according to fire officials and CHP logs.
Authorities shut down the four right-hand lanes of the freeway in the wake of the crash. The four right lanes of the freeway remained shut down for more than three hours during the rescue efforts, investigation and clean-up.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
PHOTO/VIDEO by staff photographer Keith Durflinger