Teresa Toscano recalls what happened when the pick-up truck she was driving with her 4-year-old nephew inside was rear ended and smashed into a big-rig. The chain-reaction crash shut down the 5 Freeway in both directions in Burbank on Friday. The closure led to a massive traffic backup, but no one was injured. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, August 24, 2012.
Lanes on the Golden State (5) Freeway near the Buena Vista Street exit reopened Friday night after a multi-vehicle crash involving a big-rig brought rush-hour traffic to a halt and snarled the freeway for miles in both directions, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
The crash was reported shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. Traffic was flowing in all lanes on each side of the freeway by 10 p.m., according to CHP.
Preliminary information on the cause of the collision suggests a tow truck carrying a compact vehicle rear-ended a pick-up truck which then hit a big-rig, causing it to lose control and smash into a center diver, CHP officials said.
"It's really important that people slow down and pay attention to traffic conditions ahead of them as they're driving. This was commute traffic and someone just wasn't paying attention," said Sgt. Eric Broner with CHP.
After the semi-truck collided with the center divider, it leaked diesel fuel onto the freeway above Hollywood Way (map), on the border between Burbank and Sun Valley, according to CHP.
Hazmat crews laid down sand to soak up the fuel, according to the CHP's online incident report. No injuries were reported.
The driver of the pick-up truck was travelling with her 4-year-old nephew when she felt "a big hit on my back."
"I don’t know if I spin around but I just saw everything going ‘round and ‘round and I couldn’t control it. I felt like everything was gone and it just came into my head that my daughters, that they are behind in my house," Teresa Toscano said.
"But thank God I’m here and I could go back to my girls and my nephew is fine and everything and everybody’s doing good. Just some pains here and there, but we’re alive, that’s all that matters."
Traffic on the freeway was snarled for miles Friday night and the Buena Vista Street on-ramp to the northbound 5 Freeway was closed so surface streets would not get congested, according to CHP.
As of 5:30 p.m., traffic was backed up about three miles in either direction of the crash. By 5:45 p.m., traffic appeared to be flowing through at least one lane on the southbound side of the freeway and the remaining lanes continued to reopen throughout the night.
Concrete dividers and barriers, also known as k-rails, were damaged in the area of the 5 Freeway that is undergoing an expansion project. The part of the freeway where the crash occurred -- the Hollywood Way overpass -- was recently renovated and several on- and off-ramps are under construction, which made exiting the snarled traffic via a right shoulder impossible.
The collision occurred about two miles from the Burbank Airport. Officials advised motorists travelling to the airport to avoid the 5 Freeway, including Glen Oaks Boulevard and San Fernardino Road, usual alternates.
Initial reports stated there were two big rigs involved in the collision and possibly a large fire on the scene. Updated information from the scene revealed a single big-rig involved in the collision.
Friday's incident was the latest big-rig crash to shutdown LA-area freeways. Interstates 10, 210, the San Diego (405) and Ventura (101) freeways have all been snarled in recent weeks by big-rig collisions.
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