1 Dead, 10 Hurt As Fiery Big-Rig Pileup Shuts Down I-5 Near LA Zoo

LOS FELIZ (CBSLA.com) — One person was killed and 10 others were hurt in a fiery crash involving three big rigs, three cars, one van and a pickup truck on the Golden State (5) Freeway in the Los Feliz area Tuesday.

The pileup, which was reported at Los Feliz Boulevard at about 10:52 a.m., sparked a massive fire, sending debris scattered across the southbound freeway lanes.

According to Jose Nunez of the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a northbound big rig swerved across the center median and slammed
into another big rig in the southbound lanes, prompting the chain-reaction collision that ultimately included three passenger vehicles, a passenger van, another big rig and a pickup hauling a trailer.

PHOTOS OF THE  CHAIN-REACTION FIERY COLLISION

One of the passenger vehicles wound up wedged beneath one of the big rigs. The driver of the third big rig in the crash managed to drive to the right shoulder of the freeway, avoiding the major fire that erupted.

A witness told KNX Newsradio that the driver of a Toyota Prius may have cut off the northbound big rig, causing it to careen over the center divider.

Bertha Busacay, was riding with her niece, Kimberly Busacay, 25, in their Toyota Camry, which crashed under a semi truck after it came barreling into their lane.

Bertha suffered a black eye. Her niece had a broken nose.

“I was able to open the back door. So I was able to get out,” Bertha told CBS2’s Erica Mandy. “We could have died.”

The name of the big rig driver, who was killed, has not been released. A dog in one of the big rigs also died.

Eight others were treated for minor injuries, the CHP said.

Some of them were identified as Rafael Ramirez, 22, of Los Angeles; Nick Agajanian Sr., 63, of Fontana; Rodolfo Perez, 48, of Bakersfield and Ryan Brubaker, 43, of Laguana Niguel.

Both sides of the freeway were closed initially as investigators processed the scene, prompting a traffic nightmare not just on the I-5 but on side streets as well.

Shortly after noon, two northbound slow lanes were reopened to allow traffic through, and all lanes were reopened by early afternoon.

All southbound lanes south of the Ventura (134) Freeway were reopened shortly after 6:30 p.m.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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