Los Angeles

215 Freeway Reopens After Big Rig Crash Causes Bridge Collapse

Northbound lanes reopened around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday after a 20-hour closure

Part of a Riverside County freeway reopened Wednesday morning after a 20-hour closure caused by a big rig crash Tuesday that led to a bridge collapse at an interchange construction project.

The northbound and southbound lanes of the 215 Freeway reopened Wednesday morning before 5:30 a.m. The lanes were closed in the Perris area, about 70 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, after the big rig carrying sand struck the bottom of the freeway overpass' wooden support frame. The bridge is part of the 215 Freeway-Route 71 freeway interchange project.

No injuries were reported.

At mid-day, the big rig remained on its side on the side of the freeway. The driver told NBC4 the truck crashed over a concrete barrier after the collapse.

"I just heard a big old bang and that bridge came down on me and my trailer," the driver said.

Wooden planks dangling from the overpass caught onto the top of his truck, the driver told NBC4.

The company that operates the truck, Hartwick & Hand, Inc., received satisfactory reviews during inspections in January and May of this year, records show.

The company owns approximately 65 truck tractors, employs 60 drivers, claims most of its cargo is dry bulk commodities.

The company has reported seven previous crashes, three with injuries.

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The drivers were not issued citations. Two of these crashes were in San Bernardino in January and February of this year.

NBC4's Nyree Arabian and Tena Ezzeddine contributed to this report.

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