Three people, including an Uber passenger who ran across freeway lanes to help victims, were killed early Friday in a chain-reaction crash initially caused by a DUI driver on the 405 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said.
The men, who all died at the scene, were in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Two of the victims were identified as Phearin Ath and Richard Le, according to authorities.
The series of crashes around 1 a.m. on the northbound 405 Freeway, north of South Wilmington Avenue in the Carson area, began when a Chevy Silverado pulling a trailer was struck by the driver of a Toyota Prius. The Chevy struck a freeway wall, and both vehicles came to a stop on the freeway, according to the CHP.
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An Uber driver saw the crash, pulled to the side of the freeway and a passenger ran across the freeway to help victims of the earlier crash, officers said. The driver of a Toyota Camry then struck the Uber passenger and two Silverado passengers on the freeway, according to the CHP.
The driver of the Prius, identified as Micaela Ramos, 24, was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
CHP later said she will likely not face charges in connection with the deaths of the men, since they were injured in the secondary crash.
"They’ll be charged for whatever injuries occurred in that first collision but after that collision stabilized then a second collision happened and they weren’t involved in that," said Officer Simeon Yarbrough.
The Uber driver and pickup driver were hospitalized. Details about their conditions were not immediately available.
CHP officers urged motorists involved in freeway crashes to pull over to the right shoulder, whenever possible, and stay in their vehicles until help arrives.
"Don’t stop on the freeway. Don’t stop on the shoulder and don’t stop on the lanes call 911 and let us come help," Yarbrough said.
All lanes northbound lanes were closed, and traffic was being diverted off at South Wilmington Avenue. The road reopened at about 5:30 a.m.