Monday, October 15, 2007

L.A. crash scary but not surprising

I was throwing clothes into my suitcase and watching the local news Saturday morning in Burbank, Calif.
The TV news guy was talking about an accident in an underpass on an interstate.
He cut to a film clip of the crash.
A ball of flames filled the screen. Every once in awhile the flames would lap and you could see a truck cab.
The TV news guy didn't know how many people were dead or injured. In fact, he didn't even know how many vehicles were involved in the crash that happened around 11 p.m. Friday.
Then the camera was back on the news guy in the studio and he was very seriously telling viewers that rain-slicked roads can be slippery and cars often cut off semi-truck drivers.
He said it is hard for the semi drivers to brake without losing control of their rigs.
So, please, he implored viewers, don't cut off big trucks on rain-slicked highways.
Oh, yeah, I'm sure Los Angeles drivers will heed that request.
Cars cut off everyone there. I found that out during last week's business trip. It seems other drivers are never going fast enough.
In tie-ups when cars are at a dead stop, drivers honk.
If you are waiting for oncoming cars to go by before making a lefthand turn, drivers honk.
Cars clog the streets and highways and drivers honk and drive dangerously.
I'm surprised there aren't more horrific crashes in southern California.
You probably read about Friday's fiery accident on I-5 north of Los Angeles. According to information in today's Los Angeles Times, at least three people are dead and at least five big rigs and multiple cars were involved.
There is a company in Grafton called Introtech Crash Reconstruction. Its employees go out to crash sites to try to figure out how they happened.
Dale Dent, chief of operations for the company, said it won't be involved in the California crash. Introtech works mostly in Ohio and rarely in other states.
He did say however that a crash in which all the vehicles are burned up, as this one was, will be very hard to reconstruct.
"All the evidence is gone," he said. "Evidence from the roadway is gone. Evidence from the vehicles is gone.
"If they are able to put together what happened, it will take a very long time," Dent said.
The California interstate, I-5, remained closed around the crash site this morning sending drivers scurrying to find alternate routes to work.
I can't imagine the honking that is generating.

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