Service to all Metro Green Line stations will resume with the start of service at about 4 a.m. Saturday, according to a Metro spokesman.
Power lines that supply energy to trains and a section of the tracks that run between the Hawthorne/Lennox and Vermont/Athens stations were damaged in a fiery, fatal collision between a gasoline tanker truck and an SUV on the westbound Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway in Hawthorne Friday morning. Both drivers were killed.
Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo said trains will run every 15 minutes, but will share a single track between the Vermont/Athens and Crenshaw/105 stations and passengers should expect delays of up to 10 minutes as repair work continues on the westbound tracks that run along the center of the freeway.
The crash occurred at 5:15 a.m. Friday near Prairie Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Uber driver Hisaki Shimidu told reporters he saw the SUV speeding through traffic before the crash.
“I saw one reckless driver (going) very fast — 75 to 80 miles per hour … almost like racing,” Shimidu said. The SUV then struck the center divider, he said.
CHP Capt. Doug Young said at a news briefing Friday that investigators had not yet spoken to witnesses, and the cause of the crash remained under investigation.
“Initial reports are that a tanker truck and an SUV became entangled in some form of traffic collision,” he said. “Both vehicles struck the center divider, overturned and caught fire.”
The resulting inferno led to a full closure of the freeway in both directions, backing up traffic for miles at the onset of Friday morning rush hour. Fire crews arriving at the scene found a raging, gasoline-fed fire. They initially began pouring water on the blaze, but after realizing they would be unable to douse the flames — and that nobody in either vehicle could have survived the inferno — they opted to let the blaze burn itself out. That took about two hours.
The big rig involved in the crash was hauling a pair of tanks, only one of which caught fire. The second overturned but remained intact, Young said.
With fuel pouring out of the burning portion of the tanker onto the roadway shoulder, firefighters dammed the flow so crews could clean up the spill. Another tanker truck was brought in to remove gasoline from the rear tanker trailer that didn’t burn. By late morning, that effort was continuing.
Coroner’s officials had to wait for the fuel to be off-loaded before entering the scene to remove the remains.
The names of the drivers who died in the crash were withheld, pending notification of their relatives.
“I just don’t even know what to say about that, you know,” Bryan Ingram, a co-worker of the truck driver killed in the crash, told NBC4. “The man went to work and he didn’t come back.”
The eastbound side of the 105 Freeway reopened about three hours after the crash, but westbound lanes remained closed until about 7:30 p.m. Friday.