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UPDATE: Man killed in two-truck crash near Gorman

Posted: March 25, 2014 2:51 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2014 4:20 p.m.

A box truck and a tanker fully loaded with jet fuel collided on Interstate 5 near Gorman on Tuesday, killing the tanker truck driver.

The crash resulted in no fire, no explosion and no leak of jet fuel, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora.

Firefighters were called to the collision about 6:40 a.m. in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 just south of Highway 138, he said.

The driver of the tanker was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner’s office was called, Mora said.

The driver of the box truck, identified as 55-year-old Dominador B. Oropilla of Mesa, Arizona, was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, said California Highway Patrol Officer John Lutz.

Oropilla was traveling northbound in the interstate’s right-most lane just south of Highway 138 “at a slow rate of speed carrying approximately 70,000 pounds of tomatoes.” Lutz said.

The loaded tanker trailer, traveling northbound in the same lane, approached the rear of Oropilla’s truck at “an unknown rate of speed,” Lutz said.

“For unknown reasons at this time, the tanker driver allowed his vehicle to collide with the rear of Oropilla’s vehicle,” the CHP officer said.

“As a result of the collision, several gallons of diesel fuel were spilled onto the roadway and into an adjacent property east of the roadway,” Lutz said.

Officials with the Office of Emergency Services and Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation were notified.

At 6:51 a.m., paramedics and members of the Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit were dispatched to the scene.

“We got a 911 call from a passerby on the other side of the freeway who saw the accident,” Mora said.

“It took quite an amount of time to extricate the (box truck) driver,” he said.

About 40 gallons of diesel fuel and “a little bit of oil” spilled from one of the damaged trucks, Mora said.

“We diked and dammed the spill pretty quickly,” he said.

The tanker containing the fuel was not compromised and was not leaking, he said.

“Only the (diesel) fuel from the truck fuel reservoir was leaking,” Mora said.

Officers with the California Highway Patrol are investigating the collision.

“Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor to this collision at this time,” Lutz said. “However, this investigation is continuing,” Lutz said.

All northbound lanes but one were closed for several hours for vehicle recovery and trailer off-loading, CHP officiers said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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