Two drivers died and four motorists were injured in two separate crashes on the eastbound 210 Freeway in Pasadena early Thursday, authorities said.
The crashes resulted in freeway lane closures that lasted into the evening.
It was not clear if rain was a factor in the crashes, California Highway Patrol officials said. The causes of both remained under investigation.
The collisions not only affected freeway commute, people also couldn’t take the Metro Gold Line train between the Allen Avenue station and Sierra Madre Villa stations due to a tractor trailer and crash debris blocking the tracks.
The earliest crash at 12:01 a.m. involved three big rigs and three vehicles. It occurred near the tunnel connecting the eastbound 210 Freeway to the eastbound 210 Freeway near the 134 Freeway junction. California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Tao said two of the big rigs overturned.
The name of the driver killed in the crash was not released pending notification of his family members, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said. CHP officials described him as a 58-year-old Arroyo Grande man.
He was driving a 2013 Volvo tractor-trailer when, “For unknown reasons, (the big rig) left the road and struck a concrete over-crossing pillar,” CHP Officer J. Wood of the CHP’s Altadena office said in a written statement.
“(The driver) suffered blunt force trauma to his head and chest due to this collision,” Wood said.
He died at the scene, officials said. It was unclear whether he had been wearing a seat belt.
The big rig and trailer jack-knifed in the crash, blocking all lanes of the eastbound 210 Freeway transition road.
Five other vehicles — two big rigs and three cars — subsequently struck the overturned big rig, however none of the drivers were seriously injured, officials said.
CHP Officer Jose Barrios said a 37-year-old Mission Hills man driving a Dodge Charger and a 41-year-old man from Gardena behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius suffered minor injuries and were taken to Huntington Hospital for treatment.
A 30-year-old Riverside man driving a Nissan Altima and a 38-year-old Fresno man who was driving one of the trucks complained of pain but were not hospitalized, Barrios said.
He said the third big driver, a 42-year-old Riverside man, wasn’t injured.
A Sig Alert was issued for the tunnel to the eastbound 210 Freeway at 12:09 a.m. It remained closed well into Thursday evening as authorities worked to clear the wreckage.
The second fatality crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway early Thursday took place at 2:30 a.m. near Madre Street.
Oscar Eduardo Avila Reyes, 33, of Moreno Valley died at the scene of the crash, Winter said.
For reasons that remained under investigation, Reyes lost control of the big rig, which veered to the left across traffic lanes and overturned, CHP officials said. The jack-knifed big rig slammed into the center divider.
“(Reyes), who was not being properly restrained, was fully ejected as (the big rig) slid on top of the raised concrete center divider in an easterly direction,” according to the CHP statement.
The truck ended up partially blocking the Metro Gold Line tracks.
An estimated 50 gallons of fuel and oil spilled from the big rig and went down the storm drain after the crash, according to CHP logs.
Lane closured resulting from the crash remained in effect through noon, CHP Officer Monica Posada said.
Because of the crash, Gold Line service was suspended between the Allen Avenue and Sierra Madre Villa stations.
“The truck was blocking part of the track. Debris blocked the rest of it,” according to Anna Chen, spokeswoman for Metro LA which operates the Gold Line.
She said bus shuttles replaced the train. Foothill Transit and the Pasadena Arts bus were also honoring fares from Metro passengers, Chen added.
Metro LA spokesman Marc Littman said the train was back in service at about 11:30 a.m.
Both fatal crashes were being investigated by officers from the Altadena office of the CHP.
– Ruby Gonzales and Brian Day
PHOTO courtesy of Caltrans