Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another Freeway Crash

Well, it was in Pasadena this time. As I cruised the east side of Whittier near La Habra, I heard the radio reporting major closing on the 210 Pasadena freeway. I might be some 30 to 40 miles away, and in the morning traffic, boy would I have to battle. I finally decided to head that way when I neared the 605 freeway in Whittier.

It took about one hour and 45 mins. to battle through traffic to get to the location (210 north, just before Arroyo Blvd and right in front of the rear of Muir High School), only to find that the freeway on-ramps near the accident scene were closed. At the last freeway on-ramp before the accident, I decided to follow the street parallel to the freeway.

As I drove parallel to the freeway, I could first see a huge soundwall, then I could see tv trucks' antenas and I was getting depressed at the thought of having to go back some two to three miles, get on the freeway and battle more bumper to bumper traffic. Boy was someone or something looking after me because right at the accident scene, the sounwall ended, there was some construction of a drainage pipe on the freeway embankment and.... the fence was down, there was no concrete sound wall and all I had to do was walk up a steep embankment to get to the crash.

There were two big rigs, one fused to the end of the other. The one in front was a dirt carrier, the ones that pull two "buckets" behind them that are always seen in construction sites carrying dirt or concrete or asphalt off.

Pasadena fire official is in foreground as others work near trucks in the background.

The other one, the one that rear-ended the front one, was a mail carrying truck, also with two trailers behind it. The cab of this truck was stuck into the end of the rear "bucket." And the entire cab and first trailer were completely burnt. The fire dept. had their jaws of life out, cal trans was controlling traffic and CHP was also taking care of business. After a while, the Coroner investigators arrived and tried to remove the body from the cab. The body of the person who had died in the fiery accident. After a few attempts, they decided somehow to remove the body by pulling it out of the cab, since it was somehow trapped in there. Once the body was out, they inspected it, took some pictures and wrapped it in plastic and cloth.

Man, oh, man, was this a horrific scene. I have seen people hit by trains, by cars, shot up and all that , but seeing this poor guy, somewhat in a seated position, charred completely from head to toe, that was very numbing and shocking. A CalTrans guy approached me and said that the guy was 31.

The quietness of the scene is all that I remember even though there were some 20 people around and two lanes of traffic were moving by. The smell was that of burnt-out truck, much like when a house burns, but nothing else. Obviously, I took photos of what was going on, but as soon as I left the scene, incidentally, right after the coroner put the body in their truck, I felt sick, sad. Seeing something like that so close made me think of the guy and what he must of gone through in the last few seconds of his life.

Terrible thing to happen to someone, burnt in a crash, and I just hope he did not suffer too much or at all. Seeing a scene like this really tells you how unimportant some things in life are and just hoe precious and fragile life can be.

California Highway Patrol, Pasadena Fire Dept. stations 31, 35 & 36, Cal Trans and L.A. County Coroner work on this accident. I'll spare you the more graphic photos.

Until next time, keep shooting.

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