BAKER (AP) — The juvenile passenger of a semi-truck was killed and its driver was seriously injured when the vehicle veered out of lanes early Wednesday and slammed into another semi that was broken down on the shoulder of a remote California highway, authorities said.
Two people inside the parked semi were hurt when it was struck around 4 a.m. Wednesday on northbound Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert near the Nevada line, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Camara. A woman who sustained moderate injuries and a man with minor injuries were taken by ambulance to a hospital about 90 miles away in Las Vegas.
Hazmat crews responded and the entire freeway was shut down for hours because 55-gallon drums on one of the trucks tumbled into lanes, spilling industrial cleaning supplies. Responding officers reported an overwhelming odor and difficulty breathing, but the material did not pose a risk to the public, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
The juvenile passenger died at the scene. The 28-year-old driver was airlifted to a hospital with major injuries. Camara didn’t know the relationship between the two.
Camara said preliminary reports indicated the driver may have fallen asleep, but he stressed that the collision was still being investigated.
Traffic headed toward Las Vegas was diverted off at Cima Road for a detour back to the interstate at Nipton Road.
Cleanup is expected to take several hours.
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