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UPDATE: Suspected wrong-way driver arrested after multiple-car pileup on 14

Posted: June 17, 2013 10:48 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2013 10:48 p.m.

A trail of wreckage is scattered across the north lanes of Highway 14 in the aftermath of a multi-vehicle crash Monday afternoon. Photo by Jonathan Pobre.

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By Signal Staff

Thirteen people were hurt — three critically — in a nine-car pileup Monday that left pieces of vehicles scattered across all lanes of the northbound Highway 14 freeway.

Initial California Highway Patrol reports indicated the crash was caused by a wrong-way driver.

An official with the CHP said that the suspected driver was arrested at Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was being treated for his injuries.

The collision shortly after 4:35 p.m. shut down the entire northbound freeway between Agua Dulce Canyon Road and Escondido Canyon Road, said CHP spokeswoman Kelly Esser.

Reports from the scene around 5 p.m. indicated six people were hurt, two of them critically. One was airlifted to a hospital in the Antelope Valley.

One person trapped in the wreckage was freed at 5:11 p.m.

It was at that point that paramedics requested another ambulance on the scene.

Emergency crews sorting through the rubble learned of a third “critical” patient and some others with minor injuries, the Fire Department spokesman said. Late Monday night, CHP investigators set the number of injured at 13 — with three critical and 10 minor. It was also confirmed that a total of nine vehicles were involved in the pileup.

Three of the 13 injured were reported to have refused medical treatment, a Fire Department spokesman said.

North Hills resident Scott Brantner found little time to react to the pileup unfolding in front of him. He was among a number of approaching motorists who slammed on their brakes to avoid colliding with the vehicles, he said.

“There were cars flying across all four lanes of the freeway … I pulled away to the shoulder pretty much immediately,” he said.

“A few of the pedestrians got out of their cars and went to start pulling people out and aiding them. Since the flipped truck was leaking fuel, and the white sedan that it ran into was still smoking, police were telling people to get away,” he said as he described what happened in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

“The guy in the flipped truck, when he got pulled out was limp and unconscious. A few of the pedestrians and (a Los Angeles Police motorcycle officer) helped take him over to the side of the freeway where they laid him down. I overheard the officer reassuring the guy that he was going to be OK.”

Northbound traffic was jammed, and cars were being taken off the freeway at Agua Dulce Canyon Road. At 7:50 p.m., all lanes reopened, according to the CHP.

“There’s numerous officers on the scene with a supervisor,” said CHP Officer Jason Peavy around 6 p.m.

“The northbound lanes are closed and we are diverting traffic off the freeway,” he said.

Emergency response crews are familiar with the stretch of freeway near Escondido Canyon Road.

On June 26 last year 19 vehicles slammed into each other on the southbound Highway 14, also just south of Escondido Canyon Road, after a big rig barreled into several cars halted during a traffic stop to remove debris in the roadway.

No one was seriously injured in that crash; three were treated at the scene.

 

 

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