A big rig driver and a good Samaritan who rushed to his aid at the side of the 15 Freeway near Barstow early Sunday were killed in a fiery crash between two big rigs, one of which was hauling hazardous chemicals, authorities said.
The driver of the other involved big rig was hurt in the deadly collision, which took place about 4:15 in the southbound lanes of the 15 Freeway, south of Hodge Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver of the first big rig lost control of his truck while southbound on the 15 Freeway, drifted toward the right into the desert, then overturned while trying to veer back onto the roadway, CHP officials said. The big rig came to a rest on its side, partially blocking the No. 3 lane of southbound traffic.
A man at the wheel of a Mazda came upon the crash scene, officials said. The driver stopped his car and ran to help the driver of the crashed big rig, authorities said.
A second big rig then approached the scene and failed to stop in time to avoid the overturned big rig, according to the CHP.
The second truck slammed into the first, causing it to burst into flames. The driver of the burning big rig was killed.
After striking the overturned big rig, the second truck came to a rest on top of the good Samaritan, who was also pronounced dead at the scene, CHP and San Bernardino County Fire Department officials said.
The identities of the two men killed in the crash were not available Sunday afternoon.
Officials said the surviving big rig driver, described as a 52-year-old Tennessee man, was hospitalized in unknown condition.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, and no arrests had been made.
Firefighters extinguished the burning wreckage and cleaned up “several hazardous chemicals” that one of the involved big rigs had been transporting, fire officials said. Further details regarding the chemicals were not available.
Southbound traffic lanes were affected well into the afternoon.
All lanes of the freeway were reopened shortly after 2 p.m., according to Caltrans.