Interstate 5 lanes reopen in California after fiery tunnel crash

| 10/15/2007

Both sides of Interstate 5 in California were reopened early Monday morning, Oct. 15, following a deadly chain-reaction calamity in a tunnel near Santa Clarita on Friday. The fiery crash involved dozens of trucks and claimed the lives of two truckers and one child, who reportedly was riding with his trucking father.

However, the southbound truck lanes, which include the tunnel where the crash occurred on Friday, were still closed and likely will remain closed for several months, according to the California Department of Transportation.

According to The Associated Press, three people were killed in the crash, which involved 31 trucks and one passenger vehicle.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office reported on Monday morning that the victims had not yet been identified because their remains had been burned beyond recognition.

One of the victims was believed to be a 38-year-old truck driver who had a six-year-old boy as a passenger. The other victim is also believed to be a male and was also driving a truck. The coroner’s office is waiting for dental records to make positive identifications.

As of Monday afternoon, there was still little information available about the trucks involved in the wreck because so many of them were burned beyond recognition. Land Line spoke to personnel at the Saia Motor Freight Lines’ Los Angeles terminal. Numerous press photos showed the wreckage of a Saia truck just south of the tunnel. The Georgia-based carrier reported that their driver had safely escaped the tunnel.

Ten other people were injured, though none critically, in the wreck, which allegedly started when two rigs lost control in the rain-slicked tunnel and reportedly crashed into each other.

Other vehicles piled up into the wreck, and fire quickly spread throughout the tunnel. According to news reports, the temperature inside the tunnel was estimated to have ranged between 1,000 and 1,400 degrees.