Multiple crashes leads to fiery pileup on I-5 along the Grapevine
At least 10 separate crashes along Interstate 5 in Southern California on Saturday caused a major pileup that sent at least 16 people to hospitals — including a baby who was reported to be in critical condition — and forced traffic delays for several hours along the Grapevine.
Sgt. Jeff Mesa with the California Highway Patrol’s Fort Tejon office said the pileup on the Grapevine involved around 20 vehicles. The CHP initially reported 50 were involved.
Mesa said a number of vehicles were stuck within each of the individual crashes, which raised the number of cars and trucks involved.
A Toyota truck was engulfed in flames and another sedan was left unrecognizable as a result of fire, Mesa said. The two caught fire after one of the crashes.
Reports of crashes on the Grapevine started around 2:45 p.m.
Social media images showed vehicles flipped over amid the wreckage.
A billowing cloud of black smoke served as a sign of the chaos on the highway.
A baby among the victims
A 22-month-old baby was left in critical condition after the crashes. Mesa said the baby was taken to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital where it was fighting for its life. A name or gender was not revealed.
A number of other people had injuries that ranged from minor to complaints of pain. At least 16 were transported to Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, Mesa said.
Horses were also among the injured, according to the CHP, though their condition was not immediately known.
Thick fog had formed at the time of the crash, and Mesa said it may have been a factor. He said the fog, along with drivers not turning on their headlights and speed may have contributed to the havoc.
“The fog moved in quick and drivers did not address speed accordingly,” Mesa told The Bee.
Caltrans reported that upwards of 100 cars were likely trapped in some form in the different collision scenes, which spanned about 4 miles.
The CHP reported the southbound lanes of I-5 were closed from Frazier Park Road onward, but as of 7 p.m. Saturday, the CHP said all lanes on the Grapevine were reopened.
Mesa said all tow trucks in the Grapevine area were used to get the cars out of the highway, and tow trucks from the Bakersfield area also were brought in.
Crushed cars were strewn on the highway as first responders arrived.
Fire departments with Los Angeles and Kern counties responded, as well as Ventura and LA county sheriff offices, and the Los Angeles County Public Works crews.
Southbound traffic was backed up about three hours from the Grapevine to the Highway 138 and I-5 interchange as a result. Mesa said as of 8:30 p.m. traffic was once again flowing toward Los Angeles slowly.
The CHP activated closure signs for vehicles traveling toward the crash from the south San Joaquin Valley.