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SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) — A 5-year-old girl was killed and several other people were injured in a fiery multi-vehicle crash involving three big rigs that shut down all lanes of a Los Angeles County freeway for hours Thursday, authorities said.
The pre-dawn accident on State Route 60 involved a tanker truck that hit the center divider and overturned, spilling fuel and milk into lanes, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos.
Nine vehicles, including the tanker and two other big rigs, crashed, he said. At least two vehicles caught fire.
Wreckage was strewn across the eastbound lanes. Crews cleared a huge puddle of milk that flowed into westbound lanes.
County fire officials said 11 people were injured, six critically.
It's unclear whether the girl who died was among those critically hurt. The young resident of South El Monte died at a hospital, said coroner's Lt. David Smith.
According to the preliminary investigation, the milk tanker crashed into some vehicles that were slowing or that had stopped ahead of it, and the truck then slammed into the center divider, coming to rest on top of it, the CHP reported.
Arriving firefighters decided to push the truck off of the center divider and onto the westbound side of the freeway to prevent it from toppling over onto passing vehicles, the CHP said.
The accident closed the highway and backed up traffic for several miles. All lanes had been reopened about seven hours after the crash.
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