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A wrong-way driver allegedly caused a multiple-vehicle crash that resulted in the hospitalization of twelve people and the forced closure of the northbound lanes of the Antelope Valley Freeway Monday. A massive traffic backup during afternoon rush hour ensued.

Reportedly, a white pickup truck was traveling in the opposite direction in the northbound lanes of the 14 Freeway and caused a multiple-vehicle collision that involved at least eight vehicles. California Highway Patrol told reporters that the freeway crash occurred at 4:36 p.m. just south of Escondido Canyon Road in the Agua Dulce area.

Officials closed all northbound lanes for at least two hours while emergency respondents attended to the injured victims. Patients were loaded into ambulances and damaged vehicles were towed.

Although the southbound lanes were not closed, they were affected by the accident and the closure of the northbound lanes that forced traffic to be backed up all the way to the 5 Freeway.

According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, there were a total of 12 people who were hospitalized in the freeway automotive wreck. Of those victims, three of them were critically injured and one had to be flown to Antelope Valley Hospital.  Those that were taken via ambulance were taken to various hospitals, including Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. There were three motorists involved in the accident that declined medical assistance.

All of the northbound lanes were reopened close to 8:00 p.m.

Andres Zenon, a witness that was involved in a separate accident prior to the wrong-way driver collision was on the shoulder of the freeway talking to California Highway Patrol officers when they saw the truck head their way. “He just passed by us, flying maybe two feet from us, so we almost got hit and then we just saw the crash over there,” said Zenon.

Officials are investigating the crash and suspect that the person behind the wheel of the white pickup truck may have been under the influence of alcohol and is undergoing a sobriety test.  “We do know that he does have severe injuries, and right now, alcohol and/or drugs are suspected to be a factor,” said John Lutz with the CHP.

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