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Southbound 5 Freeway reopens after inmate bus crash [Updated]

May 19, 2011 |  1:31 pm

One of four buses that collided on northbound 5 freeway near Washington Blvd. injuring eight people.

Authorities reopened the southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway in Commerce after four buses crashed, including a bus carrying 25 inmates for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The northbound lanes remain closed.

Authorities said the other three buses were carrying military personnel. In all, eight people suffered injuries, although most appeared to be minor.

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, said a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman.

[Updated at 1:35 p.m.: Two of those injured were inmates; the other six were military personnel.

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, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Matt Levesque.

The entire freeway -- all northbound and southbound lanes -- had been shut down for more than half an hour. Another Sheriff's Department bus was sent to the scene to transport inmates, Levesque said.] 

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-- Howard Blume

Photo: One of four buses that collided on the northbound 5 Freeway near Washington Boulevard, injuring eight people. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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