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30 killed on California freeways over Thanksgiving weekend, up from last year

November 29, 2009 |  1:27 pm

California's highways saw an increase in fatal accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend. L.A. County recorded five traffic fatalities so far, but Orange County had recorded none.

Among the most deadly of those accidents occurred in the Marin County suburb of Novato, where a car raced through a red light and slammed into a minivan, killing four family members, police said.

According to a California Highway Patrol statement, the agency arrested about the same number of drivers on local freeways for DUIs this year compared with Thanksgiving 2008.

Freeways are expected to be jammed in parts of the region this afternoon as people return home after long holiday weekends and trips to the snow. Traffic maps showed portions of Interstate 5 between Orange County and downtown L.A. as well as in the San Fernando Valley and the Grapevine were slowed. 

Here are some statistics from the CHP, compiled by the City News Service:

-- Of the more than 1,300 drivers CHP officers arrested for suspicion of drunk driving in California, 225 were in L.A. County.

-- Across California, 30 people died in crashes, up from 24 during the same period last year.

-- Last year, 1,397 people were arrested across the state by CHP officers during the first 84 hours of Thanksgiving weekend, compared with 1,314 this year.

The statistics include only roads covered by the CHP, not roads patrolled by local police agencies.

-- Shelby Grad