ENCINO (CBSLA) — Police say a passenger in an Uber who had been fighting with another passenger jumped the freeway divider was killed in a crash involving the California Highway Patrol officer that was responding to the fight.
The crash happened at 3:40 a.m. on the eastbound 101 Freeway, just west of Ventura Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
A CHP officer was dispatched at 3:26 a.m. to a call of an Uber driver on the westbound 101 Freeway in distress. The driver had reported the two passengers in the Uber were fighting with each other in the back of the vehicle.
“It started escalating by, like, choking him, or he started like punching each other and then I had to stop because of that, because it was distracting my driving,” the unidentified Uber driver told KNX 1070. “It’s crazy.”
The driver had picked up the two men in West Hollywood before they began fighting in his car.
The Uber, a black Honda, stopped in the fast lane of the 101 Freeway to call 911.
“I was too busy trying to talk to 911, but … without me knowing, he like jumped out of the car,” the driver said.
The passenger jumped over the concrete center divider and started running across the eastbound lanes. The Uber driver says he believes he was hit by multiple cars, including a CHP officer who was responding to the 911 call. The CHP has not confirmed whether the passenger was hit by more than one car.
Authorities have not yet identified the passenger who was killed.
A Sigalert was issued for all lanes through most of the morning commute. Eastbound traffic was diverted off the freeway at White Oak, and traffic just east of the fatal crash, but west of White Oak, was forced to stop until they could be turned around and directed the wrongway down the White Oak onramp.
The freeway closure turned side streets into a slow grind for commuters on the already regularly busy 101 Freeway from Ventura County and the west San Fernando Valley to get into central and downtown LA.
“It normally takes me 45 minutes to get to work,” commuter Lauren Edwards said. “But not today.”
The eastbound lanes reopened at about 9:30 a.m.