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Eastbound 10 Freeway closed by collision involving possible wrong-way driver [UPDATED]

CHP officer at the scene of a double-fatality on the east-bound 10 Freeway

Newthumb Full story: I-10 reopened after two killed in wrong-way crash

The eastbound 10 Freeway is shut down this morning, backing up traffic for miles, after two men were killed in a collision that may have involved a wrong-way driver, authorities said.

At least two vehicles in the eastbound lanes were involved in the collision, which occurred about 5 a.m. just west of National Boulevard and left one car engulfed in flames, said Officer Francisco Villalobos of the California Highway Patrol.

Villalobos said the CHP is still investigating the cause of the accident and are following up on earlier reports of a Honda Civic traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes.

“There were reports of a wrong-way driver earlier,” he said. “We still do not have how many vehicles were involved or the total number of injuries. Officers are sorting through the information they’re getting at the scene. At a lot of collision scenes, people stop to assist. We’re waiting to get information as to how many were actually involved.”

See KTLA video after the jump.

All eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes of the 10 (a.k.a. the Santa Monica Freeway) have been closed off at the 405 Freeway. Drivers can travel east starting at Overland Avenue. Transition roads from the 405 to the eastbound 10 are also closed.

Updated at 8:14 a.m.: The eastbound lanes of the 10 Freeway currently closed off at the 405 Freeway may be opened about 1 p.m., according to a California Highway Patrol official. Two lanes on the westbound 10 are still closed, and traffic is backed up from the 405 Freeway all the way east to the 110. Drivers are encouraged to stay off the highway and use side streets far away from the 10.

CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos confirmed that the two men in their 30s killed in the accident on the eastbound 10 were driving vehicles that crashed head-on. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

“It appears that both vehicles had solo occupants in them,” Villalobos said. “Only those two vehicles were involved.”

Villalobos said there were no other injuries reported and that earlier accounts of a third person in critical condition looks to be unfounded.

-- Corina Knoll

Photo: A California Highway Patrol officer at the scene of the collision that killed two and closed a portion of the eastbound 10 Freeway. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Click here for more photos of the accident scene.

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Comments () | Archives (42)

makes me wonder if the errant drive got on at Robertson which if you goole will come back to a westside cities site thats describes that area as dysfunctional, requiring over 250 million in redesigns?

This is so sad, my condolences to the families involved. Since I don't know all the details yet, I won't speculate as to what happened, but that poor man who got struck head-on even though he was going the right way... very sad...

Wow, I missed it this morning by 20 minutes.

To live and die in L.A. How sad.

this is such an dangerous stretch of I10 East @ night!

i was cut off by a taxi cab that made a lane change without a warning @ I10 Eastbound, 3am in the morning 3 years ago. i spun out into the concrete wall on the southern side of !10, that was close to the La Cienega Exit... police didn't care...! they never got the guy and never cared to look at video footage from the traffic cameras...

I wish people in general should be more patient on the freeway, especially the 405. Every day I see people cutting each other off and cutting in and out of the carpool lane when there are DOUBLE SOLID lines.

Relax people and learn to be patient!


jeeeeeez when it took me FOREVER to get santa monica this morning i had to find out why the freeway was closed - wow what a bizarre accident- whats sad too is people were driving like jerks w/ mad road rage b/c of accident -

Condolences to those affected. Traffic did take a crapper, and like most of us managed to get to work (even late).

Smokeonit - I see your point about the taxi merging without warning. I hate people like that, and I run into douches like that on a daily basis. I wish they would be considerate and think of the safety of others around them... Turn signals, those types of people really need to get into a habit of using them.

I agree with Mali. There were many road-raged drivers out this morning.
At Stanwood Drive and Centinela a guy in a black Prius decided to drive the wrong way on Stanwood to get ahead of everyone trying to merge onto Centinela. He was almost hit head-on by a driver turning on to Stanwood.

Just a half block away, a driver in a black Mercedes E-class blatantly ran the red light while accelerating, he was doing about 60mph.
I don't get it. Wherever they were headed, I'm sure people would understand. We were ALL affected.
I hope there were no further fatalities on the streets because of these, and other sloppy drivers.

Makes me grateful to work at home right now.

Wonder if that wrong-way driver got on by accident? If so, why not just stay on the shoulder until the CHP's came?

Bad judgment.

I moved to California two years ago. I don't know what the problem was with this particular accident, but I have to say, the highway entrance/exit systems in some spots are the most bizarre I've ever seen.

What's bugging me is the picture of one of the deceased's car. Though the roof has been cut away by the 'jaws of life' the passenger compartment appears basically uncrushed. In other words, the air bags and seat belts didn't work (if the driver was wearing his belt).

Most people in LA drive like spoiled children.
Sorry this had to happen, though.

One bit of bureaucratic Brownie-ism that makes this type of crash more likely is how the "wrong way" signs are placed on entrance ramps.

In places where it's possible to confuse an off ramp for an on ramp, say at night or in complex intersections "wrong way" signs are placed on the off ramp. Problem? Those that I've seen are pointed straigt at you when you're driving up the *correct* ramp - you are typically seeing the one on the left side of the off-ramp. Thus, you learn to ignore them.
If you turned around every time you saw "wrong way" in your face, you'd have a head-on collision with the cars going up the ramp you were on.

The only purpose those signs serve in practice is so that some Brownie can say "not my fault, I ordered big orange Wrong Way signs put up".

All that's needed would be to place and angle those signs so that they are only seen directly by someone going the wrong way. But that would make sense, which isn't in the idiot/hack/bureaucrat playbook.

What was the make & model of the car that caught fire? If it was fairly new I'd want to avoid that model. Old cars are more combustible if not scrupulously maintained - oily dirt on the engine + old rubber oil / fuel line segments (most or metal, but sometimes rubber is required to absorb engine movement).

You can learn a fair amount about what car to buy from actual crashes. e.g. I've seen many of these where a Ford Explorer + driver was nearly unscathed, while some random car had an occupant airlifted and in a year of rehab.

That is depressing. What is more sad is how the idiot CHP closed the East bound 10 between the northbound and southbound 405 entrances. All that did was make an unnecessary traffic jam which leads to road rage, jerk drivers, etc. It made all the East bound traffic all flood back into 405 North and have to do a roundabout on Santa Monica. I can't believe the CHP could be so stupid.. or are they being sadistic??

Some say the end is near. Some say we'll se Armageddon soon. I certainly hope we will. I sure could use a vacation from this three-ring circus sideshow of freaks here in this hopeless hole they call L.A. The only way to fix it is to flush it all away. Any time. Any day. Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay.

Smokeonit is right. There are a lot of problems with driving in LA, specially when people do not remember that there are laws to obey or don't want to follow them. (Ei. Do not make a lane change if you have a solid white line on either side). Also, people who are visiting or have just moved here from other states tend NOT TO familiarized themselves with CA traffic laws.

Accident? How can you called it an accident when someone is going the wrong way of the freeway?

My condolences go out to the families of these poor men.

I will keep them in my prayers.

You all are right... we should all be a little more careful and patient and be thankful for what we have.

What a mess it was getting to work today. As soon as I got to work I logged on and read this article.
My sympathies go out to the families of the two drivers involved. I cannot, however, feel a lot of sympathy of the wrong way driver. I am making an assumption here, but I'll bet he was drunk when he got onto the freeway. The other driver, the one minding his own business and driving the correct way, all I can think is what a tragic thing this was that happened to him. How truly sad.
Mark A., you are right. People in this city drive with aggression and hostility. They will risk their lives and yours to get where they are going five minutes sooner.
As the accident written about above proves, death can come at any time. Cars are not toys. Drive like a sane, calm human being; show some courtesy to other drivers; learn something from this tragedy.

Road Rage Solution: As one who spent 10 yrs on the 405, and now works from home and is horrified to see (didn't realize when on it every day) how people drive with zero respect for human life, I'd like to offer a simple solution.

Just go to the second to right lane, slow down to a chill speed and cruise it. Watch the inside lanes freak out and be thankful you're outta that madness. - AB

daphne sylk -

The interior of the car may look intact, air bags deployed, seat belts effective, but NOTHING will stop a projectile from a combined 120+mph collision from penetrating the sheet metal of the doors and/or the windshield and side glass.
Just based upon the horrendous impact alone; the human body can only take so much.
No amount of 'crumple zone' will take up for two vehicles head-on in excess of 60 mph each.

Unfortunately, I was sent to the airport this morning from Downtown LA and was stuck in this mess for about 2 hours. Wish I had checked the news before leaving cause then i could have saved a lot of time by going a different route...

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