POMONA, Calif. (KTLA) — The investigation continued Tuesday into a pair of chain-reaction crashes on the 10 Freeway in Pomona that left one person dead and eight others injured.
It all happened around 8 p.m. on Monday on the eastbound 10 Freeway near Towne Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The first crash involved four cars and created a traffic back-up, CHP officials said.
That’s when a second crash occurred involving a big rig with a full tank of diesel fuel and three other vehicles.
The fuel tank of the big rig ruptured, causing it to burst into flames, authorities said.
The driver of the semi was able to get out safely. However, the driver of a red BMW that became trapped under the big rig was not able to escape.
That person, who was not immediately identified, died at the scene.
Eight people were injured, including four critically, CHP officials said. The four other people suffered moderate to minor injuries.
Two of the critically injured patients had to be airlifted to the hospital.
CHP officials described the scene as chaotic, with cars on top of one another as about 100 gallons of diesel fuel poured onto the freeway and flames shot into the sky.
“Firefighters reported when they first arrived on scene that the flames were pretty high,” said Capt. Roland Sprewell of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“We also had burning diesel fuel that was running alongside the freeway that we had to capture and apply foam onto it,” Sprewell said.
Witnesses reported hearing several explosions, but CHP officials said that was just the sound of tires exploding.
All westbound lanes were reopened as of 10 p.m. on Monday. The eastbound side of the freeway was reopened around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.