Three people were hurt, two critically, in a fiery crash involving a truck and a car on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway Monday, stranding thousands of motorists in the San Fernando Valley and on the Westside, as crews worked to clear the Sepulveda Pass.
The crash was reported on the hill north of Mulholland Drive at about 2:50 p.m., snarling traffic as far away as LAX and Woodland Hills. Seven of the 405’s 12 lanes were closed through nearly all of the evening rush hour, as Caltrans workers grappled with tons of concrete chunks held together with rebar streel, a burned-out truck with a wreck car under it, and a demolished concrete center divider.
Shortly after 6 p.m., southbound lanes were reopened, with the exception of the carpool lane.
The truck had been hauling waste gravel and building debris, and it collided with a car and overturned on top of the vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol. The collision sparked a fire that burned both vehicles.
A good Samaritan stopped and managed to pull three people to safety, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Amy Bastman and reports from the scene.
Two patients in critical condition were transported for hospital treatment, as was a third person with moderate injuries, Bastman said.
The crash shut down the left three lanes on the northbound 405, and the left four lanes on the southbound side, prompting the CHP to issue a SigAlert at 3:08 p.m., Officer Stephan Brandt said.
Canyon roads across the Hollywood Hills quickly jammed, as did Pacific Coast Highway. Freeways that cross the 405 — the Ventura (101) Freeway in the Valley and the Santa Monica (10) Freeway on the Westside — also were backed up.
The Sepulveda Pass section of the 405 carries 295,000 cars per day, and has been called the busiest freeway link between approximate halves of any major American city.