Fatal Crash Prompts Closure of Century Freeway in Hawthorne

posted by RJ Johnson @rickerthewriter - 

The westbound 105 Freeway was shut down early Friday morning after a fiery crash involving a tanker truck and an SUV left two people dead, authorities said. 

The California Highway Patrol reports that officers arrived on scene of the crash near the Crenshaw Boulevard exit around 5:15 a.m. 

Uber drvier Hisaki Shimidu told reporters he saw the SUV speeding through traffic before the crash occurred. 

"I saw one reckless driver (going) very fast -- 75 to 80 miles per  hour ... almost like racing,'' Shimidu said. 

That's when the SUV then struck the center divider, he said.

Two people died at the scene according to the Los Angeles county fire department. 

According to CHP Captain Doug Young, the cause of the collision was still under investigation. "What we have right now is a set of double gasoline tankers,'' Young said. "The front tanker overturned after hitting the  center divider wall. It appears to have gotten involved with a civilian SUV."

Metro also suspended train service between Hawthorne/Lennox and Vermont/Athens stations due to the fire. Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo said bus bridges were being provided to rail passengers who have been affected by the closures. 

The eastbound freeway was reopened around 8 a.m. this morning, but westbound lanes remained closed as of 11 a.m. 

It's unclear how long the westbound 110 Freeway would be closed. Caltrans engineers will be have to inspect the pavement damage, before the freeway can be reopened. At one point during the backup, stranded motorists got out of their car to buy some food from a catering truck that had also gotten caught up in the traffic. 

Photo: Getty Images

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