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Vehicle apparently veered into oncoming traffic before hitting fire truck

A small SUV appears to have veered into oncoming traffic Tuesday afternoon before it smashed head-on into a truck carrying inmates from a Los Angeles County fire crew, authorities said.

The accident on Highway 138 killed the driver of the Subaru Forester and one inmate and left several others critically injured, the California Highway Patrol said.

The boxy fire truck was carrying 12 inmates who were being driven by a county firefighter who serves as their supervisor. They were assigned to county Camp 14 near Santa Clarita.

"Preliminary indicators are that the white Suburu crossed the broken line, and the fire truck tried to take evasive action and collided and overturned," CHP officer John Lutz said.

He said the driver of the Subaru was between 75 and 85 years old. Officials had not determined the age of the inmate who died.

The accident occurred about 2:20 p.m. as the fire truck travelled eastbound near Quail Lake Road. County fire officials earlier said that the fire truck was struck by a minivan.

Late Tuesday, CHP accident investigators were at the scene sifting through the twisted wreckage and interviewing witnesses as they tried to piece together what happened.

Highway 138 remained closed in both directions -- westbound at Highway 14 and eastbound at Interstate 5 and Gorman Post Road.

-- Robert J. Lopez

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

This is way after age 75, your license should automatically be revoked. Too dangerous and motor skills aren't as sharp as they used to be.

Hey Mus tard seed, look at the statistics! Teen drivers, particularly males, are much more likely to be involved in an accident or fatally injured in an accident than seniors of any gender! Oh BTW, since you mentioned motor skills... the "A" and "H" keys are five keys apart. Good thing there are no keyboard licenses! Yours would have been revoked!

Subaru, not Suburu.

Americans are living longer now, and a large portion of that population aged 70 and above are active, acute and in good health. Rather then revoke at a perscribed age, DMV should start requiring drivers aged 70 and above to come in for a virtual driving test, given on a simulator when they renew their licenses. This way changes in eyesight, cognitive functions and reaction times can be assessed safely. As it is, California allows you to renew your license by mail indefinetely. I had a co-worker who at aged 65 should never have been behind the wheel of anything that had a working engine! Even after having several accidents where he was at fault, DMV didn't pull his license. Luckily he never harmed anyone before he passed away.

As a driver, I commute total 2 hours a day to and from work, and all I see is that sometimes there is no prudency!! or sometimes drivers can stop to look at their cells for at least the commute, personally don't know what could be so important as to endanger others and themselves. We just have to be careful and alert regardless of what age we are.

Nothing has been said about how tragic this accident was. This road is inherently dangerous for anyone. I have worked with a number of these excellent crews in the past. My heart goes out to the men and women of LA county fire and the families of those who died.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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