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2 construction workers killed on 405 Freeway; 2 drivers arrested

July 22, 2012 |  9:36 am

Construction workers killed on 405 Freeway
Two construction workers were killed along the 405 Freeway in Torrance early Sunday when vehicles driven by two suspected drunk drivers collided, sending an SUV spinning into a group of workers.

The two vehicles were traveling along a marked construction zone on the northbound side of the freeway near Artesia Boulevard when the driver of the first vehicle, a Ford Explorer, hit a Lexus SUV about 3:35 a.m., said Officer Dion Conley of the California Highway Patrol. The Lexus spun and hit the workers, who were in the far right lane of the freeway.

Two construction workers were pronounced dead at the scene, Conley said. A third was able to walk on his own after the incident, but was taken to a hospital for examination. Conley described his injuries as "minor to moderate."

The men, whose names have not been released, were employed by contractors to Caltrans. Conley said they were doing some type of asphalt work.

The driver of the Explorer, identified as 23-year-old Yocio Gomez, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, Conley said. The driver of the Lexus, identified as Stephen Caserta, 43, also was arrested later Sunday morning on the same charge.

The incident occurred along a mile-and-a-half stretch of freeway partially closed for construction, Conley said. The vehicles were traveling in the lane closest to the carpool lane, which were the only two lanes open at the time.

"It was well lit, there were cones, there were lights," Conley said, adding that Gomez, "because of his driving under the influence, failed to take any of that into consideration."

Conley said the freeway would remain closed between Crenshaw and Artesia boulevards for an unknown amount of time. He asked that drivers exit the freeway at Western Avenue to avoid major delays.


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Photo: Investigators examine the scene of a crash that killed two construction workers on the northbound 405 Freeway in Torrance. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times