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Multiple bus crash shuts down 5 Freeway in L.A.; one bus transporting inmates [Updated]

May 19, 2011 | 12:53 pm

Four buses -- including at least one carrying inmates for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department --  collided with one another other in a chain-reaction crash that has shut down the northbound 5 Freeway in Commerce, Channel 9 news is reporting.

[Updated at 1:05 p.m.: Authorities said that three of the buses were carrying military personnel. Eight people suffered injuries and were taken to hospitals. One of the crash victims sustained potentially more serious injuries.

Two of those injured were inmates; the other six were military personnel.

At about 12:45 p.m., authorities shut down the entire freeway -- all northbound and southbound lanes. A new Sheriff's Department bus also arrived to collect the inmates, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Matt Levesque.

The accident occurred just south of Washington Boulevard at 11:50 a.m. Officials believe that a car slowed suddenly in front of the Sheriff's Department bus. The bus driver slammed on his brakes, leading to a chain-reaction crash with the three buses following closely behind him in the fast lane, Levesque said.]

Video from the scene shows the damaged buses and the northbound highway entirely shut down. Southbound traffic is backed up and moving slowly.

At least one inmate was transported from the scene by ambulance and other inmates suffered at least minor injuries, the station reported.

 -- Howard Blume