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4th fatal crash on Angeles Crest Highway prompts safety concerns

August 14, 2011 |  8:10 am


A fatal car accident Saturday on Angeles Crest Highway, the fourth such incident since the road was recently reopened, comes amid concerns about the road's safety.

A stretch of the steep, winding route through the San Gabriel Mountains was closed from January 2010 to June of this year for repairs of road damage caused by heavy rain that washed debris from slopes denuded by the Station fire.

Three fatal accidents — one involving a motorcycle and the other two solo car crashes — occurred on the highway during the first three weeks after it reopened, and CHP officers blamed all three deaths on excessive speed.

State transportation officials have launched an investigation into those deaths, which the California Highway Patrol had attributed to excessive speed and, in one case, drunk driving.

During its investigation of the lower portion of Angeles Crest, Caltrans will evaluate signage, traffic volume and enforcement.The CHP has intensified traffic enforcement efforts along the roadway since its reopening, especially on weekends. Officers patrolling Angeles Crest on July 30 and 31 cited 60 drivers for excessive speed and other offenses.

In Saturday's  crash, which was reported shortly after 2 p.m., the driver lost control of the car 2 miles north of Mt. Wilson-Red Box Road, CHP Officer Anthony Martin said.

The vehicle left the road, struck something and overturned, Martin said. He didn't yet have a report from investigating officers at the scene as to what the car struck, who was killed or whether there were other occupants or injuries.


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-- Joe Piasecki and Carol J. Williams

Photo: Credit: L.A. Times