One person was fatally struck and two were injured when an out-of-control dump truck careened through a cinder block wall and nearby apartment buildings in Anaheim following a crash on the 57 Freeway Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The collision, which involved at least three vehicles, was reported on the southbound side of the 57 at the Lincoln Avenue off-ramp around 12:45 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The truck hit the side of a Honda Civic stopped at a red light on the off-ramp before continuing across the intersection, where it collided with a Mercedes-Benz C240.
The force of the crash sent the truck into the wall. It then continued on, hitting vehicles on the street before plowing straight through one apartment building and into another across from the freeway along the 400 block of Sunkist Avenue.
Sky5 video over the scene showed that the dump truck cleared one building entirely and slammed into another structure, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Gaping holes could be seen in the cinder block wall and the apartment building, and debris was strewn about the complex.
Patricia Johnson came home to find the truck in a bedroom in her unit. Her dog escaped, but firefighters were able to return it to her safely, she said.
Investigators say when they pulled the truck out, they found the body of 61-year-old Rory Antoine. Officials later determined he’d been in the first building the truck traveled through.
“That poor gentleman that was in that first or second building, minding his business. It’s unfortunate,” CHP Officer Florentino Olivera said.
Olivera had earlier told KTLA that authorities believed there was one fatality before officials confirmed the death. The Orange County coroner’s office responded to the scene and was working to positively identify the victim.
The driver, identified as 54-year-old Rafael Pacheco, received moderate injuries and was transported to the UC Irvine Medical Center.
A 69-year-old man driving the second car the Pacheco’s truck struck was taken to UCI with minor injuries, CHP said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Authorities say they’re looking into every possibility, including whether the driver suffered a medical emergency, was under the influence or if the vehicle had a mechanical failure.
One witness whose car was hit told KTLA it appeared the driver had lost control of the vehicle.
“It seemed like … his foot was on the gas pedal and wasn’t braking at all,” Cristina Diaz said. She estimated the driver’s speed was around 50 mph when the collision occurred as the vehicle was getting off the freeway.
She told KTLA her car was the first one the dump truck hit.
“I was at the light getting off the freeway, I was approaching to the red light. And then once I was approaching that’s when we felt the impact at the side of our car,” Diaz said. “It hit us, flew through a few other cars… and then did go through the whole entire apartment.”
CHP issued a SigAlert and temporarily shut down the 57 Freeway’s Lincoln Avenue on- and off-ramps amid the investigation.