IRVINE (CBSLA) – One woman was killed and nine other people were injured, including several children, following a chain-reaction crash on the 5 Freeway in Irvine early Thursday morning in which a man was arrested on drunken driving charges.
There were two separate collisions involving a total of nine vehicles which occurred at around 1:30 a.m. on the southbound 5 Freeway, just north of the interchange with the 405 Freeway, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
A 24-year-old woman from Chula Vista was pronounced dead at the scene. Nine other people were rushed to multiple area hospitals. Eight of those patients had traumatic injuries.
Three children were among the injured: a 6-month-old boy, a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy. All three were trauma patients.
The 6-month-old boy was the son of the deceased woman, California Highway Patrol confirmed.
“The mom unstrapped her seat belt, was reaching towards the back to grab her child, and she was hit by a car,” CHP officer Florentino Olivera said.
The other patients included an 18-year-old man, a 20-year-old man, a 25-year-old man, a 26-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man. All were five were also considered trauma patients.
A 24-year-old woman sustained minor injuries. A dog survived the crash.
The patients were taken to the University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange County Global Medical Center, Mission Hospital and MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center. No names were released.
A Sig Alert was issued and all lanes of the southbound 5 Freeway were closed for more than 10 hours, backing up traffic for miles. The freeway was fully reopened at noon.
According to CHP, the incident began when a Dodge Challenger traveling at more than 100 miles per hour slammed into a Prius. About 10 minutes later, seven more vehicles collided with the initial two vehicles.
The driver of the Prius, who was not injured, told CBS2 he was an Uber driver on his way to pick up a passenger when he was hit by the Challenger.
“The guy came up on me real fast with bright lights. And typically, people do that as a joke and then swerve around. But this guy didn’t swerve around, he hit me. He knocked my wheel off and destroyed my car.”
The 22-year-old man driving the Challenger was arrested on drunken driving charges.