Southern California -- this just in

Category: CHP

Grapevine on Interstate 5 reopened

Photo: Morning snow clings to road signs on a closed Interstate 5 in the Grapevine on February 20, 2013 in Lebec. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
The California Highway Patrol reopened a stretch of Interstate 5 through the Grapevine that had been closed earlier Wednesday because of ice.

The highway was opened to vehicles with escorts at about 9:15 a.m., said CHP Officer Ed Jacobs. The freeway was closed between Castaic and Grapevine Road at about 6:35 a.m., Jacobs said.

Traffic moving at a slow speed on the highway will help warm the highway and melt the ice, he said.

Lingering rain, snow showers and gusty winds were expected to affect mountain regions until midday, according to the National Weather Service. Up to three inches of snow could fall Wednesday at elevations as low as 2,000 feet.

The additional precipitation could create hazardous icy roadways, the National Weather Service said. Snowfall, coupled with heavy winds, could reduce visibility to zero.


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Photo: Morning snow clings to a sign on the closed Interstate 5 in Lebec on Wednesday. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Cars caught in snow as California 58 shut down in Kern County

Area where state route 58 was shutdown as snow fell.

The California Highway Patrol shut down a stretch of California 58 in Kern County on Tuesday night and was trying to remove a number of vehicles caught in dangerous conditions as snow was falling in the area.

It was unclear how many vehicles were caught in the snow, which began falling as a winter storm was hitting the region. Authorities began clearing the roadway after it was shut down near Towerline Road about 9 p.m.

"The freeway is just unsafe to pass on," CHP Officer Ed Smith said.

The agency said snow also was falling in the Palmdale area, and chains were required for roads in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The National Weather Service said that up to 10 inches of snow could fall at elevations above 4,000 feet and that the snow level could drop to as low as 2,000 feet.

Snowfalls, coupled with heavy winds, could reduce visibility to zero, according to the Weather Service.


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Image: Map shows the area where California 58 was shut down. Credit: Google Maps

Angeles National Forest roads to close amid snow, ice

With a storm on the way, Los Angeles County officials warned of likely closures on roads leading into the Angeles National Forest shortly after midnight Monday.

The L.A. County Public Works Department said that based on the forecast of snow and icy road conditions, it would close the following roads at 3 a.m. Tuesday:

-- Angeles Forest Highway from Aliso Canyon Road to Angeles Crest Highway

-- Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Vogel Flats

-- Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest Highway

The National Weather Service is predicting a cold, windy storm will reach Southern California early Tuesday morning, bringing rain to much of the Southland and snow to the mountains.

The snow level is expected to begin at 4,500 feet and drop to 2,000 feet, according to the weather service. On Friday, the forecast had called for a foot of snow. On Sunday night, the forecast suggested the accumulation may be far less: 4 to 8 inches. 

Once the roads are closed, county officials warn, local access will not be permitted. The closures are to remain in effect until the storm system has passed and the roads have been inspected.

For more information and updates, area residents and motorists can visit the county’s website.


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Big rig spills Gatorade 'all over' 210 Freeway in Rialto

A flipped big rig truck spilled its load of Gatorade and soda cans on the 210 Freeway in Rialto, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Several eastbound lanes were closed Thursday morning near Alder Avenue after the truck flipped onto its roof just before 5 a.m., one officer said. All lanes were closed except for the carpool lane.  

The CHP reported "Gatorade all over the freeway," with bottles of the sports beverage and cans of soda spilling out of the truck.

The cab of the semi was "wrapped around a light pole," according to the CHP.


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Man arrested in alleged plot to harm state legislator

Sen. Leland Yee

A Bay Area man who authorities say was building homemade bombs has been arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill a state lawmaker.

Everett Basham, 45, was booked Tuesday on multiple charges, including possession of a manufactured explosive and illegal possession of chemicals used to make explosives.

Police served an arrest warrant on him after being alerted by state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), whose office said Basham had threatened to kill the lawmaker if he continued pushing legislation to restrict assault weapons.

California Highway Patrol officers arrested Basham at a relative’s home in Sunnyvale on Tuesday. They found a loaded handgun in his car, said Officer Sean Kennedy, a CHP spokesman.

Two hours later, a SWAT team searched Basham's residence in Santa Clara, where they observed what authorities described as “precursors to homemade explosives.”

Authorities asked Basham’s neighbors to evacuate their homes while officers from the CHP’s bomb squad and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office searched the residence and removed the chemicals.

Authorities detonated “a small amount of substances” that they were unable to identify by digging holes in front of the house and lining the pits with sandbags, Kennedy said. Nearby residents were allowed to return to their homes at that time.

Kennedy said the house was so cluttered that authorities were unable to finish their search and returned Wednesday, when they found “destructive devices.” He said bomb squad officers would be returning with a bomb trailer Thursday to dispose of the devices.


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Photo: Sen. Leland Yee in an April 2010 file photo. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Tow truck driver killed on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu

Authorities on Tuesday were investigating an accident on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu in which a tow truck driver was struck and killed by a woman who continued driving, authorities said.

The man driving the tow truck was helping a stranded motorist Monday night when another vehicle hit him, KTLA-TV reported.

California Highway Patrol officers found the man unconscious in the roadway about 9 p.m., said Sgt. Dan Nagelmann. Witnesses said the man was struck by a eastbound silver vehicle, Nagelmann said.

A few minutes later, authorities received a report about a silver vehicle that had crashed into a parked car about two miles east of the first collision, Nagelmann said. Witnesses identified the silver vehicle as the one that struck the man, he said.

The driver of the silver vehicle was a 44-year-old woman who was taken to a hospital for head trauma, Nagelmann said. She was in critical condition, he said.

Authorities were waiting for toxicology reports to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved in the fatal collision, Nagelmann said.


Wrong-way driver on 170 Freeway injures two

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Wrong-way driver on 170 Freeway injures two

Approximate location of incident shown in red.

At least two people were injured early Tuesday after colliding with a driver traveling in the wrong direction on the 170 Freeway near Valley Glen, authorities said.

A preliminary investigation suggests the driver was heading north on the south lanes of the freeway about 3 a.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Cheyenne Quesada.

“Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Quesada said.

Authorities received numerous reports about the driver, he said. The driver was reported to be swerving to avoid traffic and to be driving about 70 mph, he said.

At least four vehicles were involved in collisions with the driver, and at least two people were injured, he said.

Southbound lanes of the freeway were closed at Laurel Canyon Boulevard early Tuesday as officers cleared debris, but they were reopened by 5:59 a.m., Quesada said.


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Map: Approximate location of incident shown in red. Credit: Google Maps

Pedestrian killed on 5 Freeway, driver leaves scene, police say

A man walking along the center divider of the 5 Freeway in Downey was struck and killed by a vehicle that left the scene early Saturday, authorities said.

A preliminary investigation suggests the man was walking along the southbound 5 north of Lemoran Avenue, said California Highway Patrol Officer Cheyenne Quesada.

The man, who was not identified, was struck when he walked into the path of an unknown vehicle, Quesada said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision was reported about 1:18 a.m., Quesada said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the CHP at (562) 868-0503.


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Tour bus company involved in fatal crash ordered shut down

Photos: Highway 38 tour bus crash

Scapadas Magicas LLC, the company that owns the tour bus involved in the deadly crash Sunday on California 38 that killed eight people and left dozens injured, is "an imminent hazard to public safety" and must close immediately, federal officials said Friday.

"After the tragic crash earlier this week ... investigators quickly inspected this carrier's other two buses which had been operated on U.S. roads, and immediately shut them down," Anne S. Ferro of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a news release.

"Today, we've officially blocked the company from conducting future operations in the United States," Ferro said.

PHOTOS: Fatal crash of tour bus

According to the release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, investigators "also found that the company had failed to ensure that its vehicles were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, and that its drivers were properly qualified and licensed, contrary to information provided by company officials in January 2013."

The tour bus had left Mexico on Feb. 3 for a trip to Big Bear. On the return trip, about 4 miles north of Yucaipa, the bus crashed on California 38, striking two other vehicles.

Seven passengers aboard the bus and one other person were killed.


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Photo: Emergency crews work at the accident scene along California 38 near Yucaipa. Some people were ejected from the bus, while others were trapped inside. It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate all the injured people. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Police pursuit ends in fiery freeway crash in Boyle Heights

A driver who allegedly led officers on a chase Wednesday night survived a fiery crash on Interstate 10 at the 60 Freeway in Boyle Heights when the car struck a railing, spun out of control and exploded into flames.

Television news helicopters following the pursuit captured the crash about 10:30 p.m., as the car skidded out of control into the guard rail, then caught fire. Pursuing officers pulled the driver from the vehicle, according to TV reports.

Traffic on I-10 came to halt as the vehicle sat in the middle of the freeway lanes, burning.

The driver was taken to County-USC Medical Center, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos. The driver's condition and identity were not known, he said.

A Sig Alert was issued for the transition road from the eastbound I-10 to the eastbound 60 Freeway, but it was unclear how long it would remain in effect, Villalobos said.

He said the CHP would investigate the crash and the criminal investigation would be handled by the Los Angeles Police Department. A spokesman for the LAPD could not be reached.


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