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Traffic snarled on 5 Freeway in Newhall after nine big rigs crash

October 23, 2012 | 10:20 am

Two successive accidents involving a total of nine big rigs backed up traffic Tuesday morning on Interstate 5 in Newhall and was likely to keep one side of the highway's truck bypass tunnel closed until about 2 p.m., authorities said.

The driver of a dump truck was traveling south in a truck bypass lane on I-5 at Highway 14 when he lost control about 2:20 a.m., causing a collision involving four big rigs, California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos said.

Traffic behind the accident began backing up and only a short while later five big rigs approaching the scene collided, leaving one driver stuck in his cab, Villalobos said. The CHP earlier said the big rigs collided at about 3 a.m. Initially, they said the crashes involved eight big rigs but later raised the figure to nine.

PHOTOS: At least eight big rigs crash in Newhall Pass

Emergency crews were able to extricate the driver from the cab, and he was taken to a hospital with moderate to major injuries but was "in stable condition when he left," said CHP Officer John Lutz. No one else was apparently injured in either crash, the CHP said.

All southbound lanes of the freeway's truck route were closed after the collision and other big rigs were given the OK to use the main lanes of Interstate 5, the CHP said. The truck route will probably reopen about 2 p.m., Villalobos said.

He said traffic was slow through the area and that the crash was causing approximately 20-minute delays "at the most."

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

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