A downed vehicle in active lanes of the 605 Freeway created a dangerous chain reaction accident involving several vehicles that left two dead early Thursday morning in Whittier.
The incident began at around 2:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes near Whittier Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol, where a young woman lost control of her car and crashed into the highway’s center divider. Unhurt, she was able to exit the vehicle and walk to safety, leaving her car exposed in the carpool lane, where several vehicles then collided with it.
Four cars collided with the disabled vehicle in quick succession, followed by a fifth that attempted unsuccessfully to avoid the pileup, ending up overturned in lanes of a nearby off-ramp.
“Once we arrived on the scene, we determined that several collisions had occurred minutes apart in this area,” said Sergeant Joe Zizi of the CHP. “It appears that one vehicle became disabled. Several others struck it. Unfortunately, we had two people deceased in two separate vehicles here.”
The two drivers who were killed, a 60 year old man and a 67 year old man, were pronounced dead at the scene by responding paramedics. Their identities have not yet been released, as the county coroner’s office is still working to notify their families. No other injuries were reported from the other drivers involved, nor the woman who initially lost control of her vehicle.
The crash forced the closure of all southbound lanes for several hours as cleanup crews worked to remove the damaged vehicles from the highway, and as police investigators made a more thorough investigation of the scene. Traffic was being diverted from the freeway at Beverly Boulevard as congestion started to build in the early morning hours. By 5:30 a.m. the carpool and three left lanes were reopened, followed shortly thereafter by the far right lane and the off-ramp.
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