All trains have resumed service and bus shuttles have been cancelled, following a crash involving a big rig and SUV on the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway that killed both drivers, according to Metro officials.
Service to all Metro Green Line stations resumed with the start of service at 4 a.m., Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo said.
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 2016 gasoline tanker truck and a 2002 Land Rover Discovery on the westbound Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway in Hawthorne Friday morning.
Ubaldo said trains ran every 15 minutes and shared a single track between the Vermont/Athens and Crenshaw/105 stations while repairs were made.
Delays were up to 10 minutes as repair work continued 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.
The motorist in the SUV lost of the vehicle and as it re-entered the traffic lanes, struck the right side of the gasoline tanker truck causing both vehicles to cross all lanes and smash into the center divider wall, the CHP reported.
The impact with the wall caused both vehicles to become fully engulfed in flames, with both motorists dying at the scene.
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, said CHP Capt. Doug Young.
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.
“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.
The CHP’s West Los Angeles office asked anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at (310) 642-3939.
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