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UPDATE: 18 injured in 19-car pileup on southbound Highway 14

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Posted: June 26, 2012 10:27 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2012 5:43 p.m.

The driver of one of 19 vehicles involved in at traffic collision on the southbound 14 freeway south of Escondido Canyon Road near Acton is taken to one of seven waiting ambulances as CHP and firefighters work to clear the crash on Tuesday morning.

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A 19-car pileup on southbound Highway 14 near Acton injured 18 people today after a big rig barreled into several cars halted during a traffic stop to remove debris in the roadway, officials said.

No one was seriously injured, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Frank McCarthy. Of the 18 injuries, three individuals were treated at the scene and not transported to a hospital, he said.

The other 15 were taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Palmdale Regional Medical Center, Antelope Valley Hospital or Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, McCarthy said.

Two people had to be extricated from mangled vehicles at the scene of the collision just south of Escondido Canyon Road. They were originally listed as critically injured, but their injuries were downgraded to minor after they were removed from their cars, McCarthy said.

“They’re very lucky,” McCarthy said of the motorists. “This is a dangerous stretch of road.”

The motorists had been stopped by a CHP officer to avoid hitting metal on the freeway when a big rig heading down the hill failed to stop, officers said. The truck slammed into the stopped vehicles.

One driver said the crash occurred on a curve.

When CHP Officer Rick Miler was asked if debris was a factor in the crash, he replied: “Absolutely not. We do this every day.

“The officer was not in the road; everyone had stopped,” Miler said. “The big rig was the only one who failed to stop. The debris wasn’t really an issue.”

The collision occurred around 9:45 a.m., and a SigAlert was issued for closure of the entire southbound freeway shortly after 10 a.m.

The freeway wasn’t reopened until shortly after 2 p.m.

Bill Edgar and his nephew, Joseph Edgar, both of Lancaster, were at the front of the pileup when the crash occurred.

The back and side of their white Dodge Ram truck were demolished, but he and his nephew were not injured.
“The (California) Highway Patrol officer stopped traffic because of debris, and traffic was backed up around the bend,” he said pointing north toward a curve in the highway.

“That’s when this 18-wheeler came around the corner and didn’t stop. He hit everybody,” he said.

Most seriously damaged was a black Volkswagen which, according to Bill Edgar, was run over by the 18-wheeler.

That car was just a clump of exposed metal.

But the male occupant of the car was trapped inside, but he appeared relatively unharmed, both Edgars said.

“He was talking and everything,” Bill Edgar he said about the male driver of the crumpled Volkswagen.

“He was talking and he raised his arm and I could see some blood,” Joseph Edgar said. “It was crazy.”

Miler said of the Volkswagen driver: “The only reason he survived is because he was in the only place not crushed by the truck.”

At least two children, each from separate vehicles, were among those injured in the pile-up.

Joseph Edgar said he saw two girls, each about 5 years old, who apparently found each other and were unhurt.

They weren’t crying and appeared not to be too upset, he said.

Asked about the injuries overall, Miler said: “I would describe the injuries as moderate, a lot of cuts, some open wounds.”

Emergency response to the scene of the collision included ambulances, fire trucks, paramedics and air rescue helicopters, with tow trucks called in later from several different firms. Two lanes of the northbound freeway were shut down to accommodate all the response vehicles.

Miler shook his head as more than half a dozen tow trucks hooked up separate vehicles to tow.

“This was the perfect storm,” the CHP officer said, reflecting on the crash that diverted southbound traffic off the freeway and toward Soledad Canyon Road.

“A perfect storm involving debris on the road, downhill traffic and a big-rig fully loaded.”

The semi truck, hauling 25 tons of sand in two separate trailers, sustained front-end damage but didn’t spill its load of sand, said CHP Officer J.C. Lesnet.

Most of the passenger vehicles sustained front and rear damage as they were apparently pushed into each other.

Some of the damaged vehicles included:

- gray four-door Ford Explorer SUV

- two Toyota Priuses, one white, one silver-colored

- black four-door Toyota SUV

- white Ford pickup truck

- white four-door Toyota Camry

- two Volkswagen beetles, one completely destroyed, the other black and damaged

- white Dodge Ram pickup truck

- green Toyota Scion

- black Ford Expedition SUV

- red Honda Passport

- silver-colored Volkswagen Passat







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