Driver Found Dead in Big Rig on 5 Freeway Along Snow-Covered Grapevine: CHP

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A driver was found dead inside a big rig Thursday morning on a section of the Grapevine in the Lebec area that was shut down overnight because of snow, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officials responded to the southbound 5 Freeway near Frazier Mountain Park Road around 8:25 a.m. after a driver was found unresponsive in the semi-truck, CHP's log stated.

He was pronounced dead 10 minutes later by personnel from the Kern County Fire Department, according to the log.

The Kern County coroner's office has been sent to the scene to identify the driver, and determine how and when he died.

CHP Officer Thomas Bey told the Los Angeles Times that the driver apparently pulled over to sleep inside the truck. Investigators do not think his death was weather-related.

The grim discovery was made on a stretch of freeway that has been closed since the previous night due to a major storm that sent snow levels plummeting, resulting in heavy snowfall along the Grapevine.

CHP was initially providing escorts through the Tejon Pass on Christmas night after snow began to fall on the highway. But by 10:30 p.m., the freeway was completely shut down after multiple vehicles became stuck in the snow.

Video that was tweeted from the scene shortly after midnight showed numerous vehicles stopped on the road, with people trying to push their trapped cars off the snow-covered highway.

All lanes remained closed between Castaic and Fort Tejon on Thursday morning. CHP has not provided an estimate on when the freeway will reopen.


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