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On Saturday, April 10, (above) Kern and Los Angeles County firefighters worked to remove Walter Herbeck, 72 of Pine Mountain from a crushed Ford Explorer just south of the Frazier Park exit on the Grapevine. He died at the scene. On Sunday, April 11, John “Jack” Blackburn (next) was killed in a three-car crash that closed the I-5 for eight hours and took five lives.
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On Saturday, April 10, (prior photo) Kern and Los Angeles County firefighters worked to remove Walter Herbeck, 72 of Pine Mountain from a crushed Ford Explorer just south of the Frazier Park exit on the Grapevine. He died at the scene. On Sunday, April 11, John “Jack” Blackburn (above) was killed in a three-car crash that closed the I-5 for eight hours and took five lives.
Reported by Gary Meyer
Two Mountain Community neighbors died in separate accidents last week on Interstate 5. High winds and pouring rain Sunday night, April 11, led to dangerous conditions on the I-5. Just before midnight, John “Jack” Blackburn [see Breaking News video], 53 of the Frazier Park area was killed in a multi-car accident that closed the I-5 for eight hours.
On Saturday afternoon, April 10, during sunny and dry conditions, Pine Mountain resident Walter Herbeck, 72 was a passenger in the front seat of a 1999 Ford Explorer, wearing his seat belt, traveling northbound on the Grapevine at about 2 p.m., just a half mile south of the Frazier Park exit.
Herbeck was killed when a 2007 Ford Ranger truck, driven by Anthony Templeton Jr., 27 of Suisun City, lost control, crossing lanes. The Ford Ranger struck the left side of the Explorer. Both vehicles went off the freeway and down a 25 feet embankment. The Explorer overturned at least twice, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Luetger.
The driver of the Ford Explorer, William Wilhelm, 63 of Sylmar, was flown by helicopter to Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. Templeton and his passenger Thomas Johansen, 51 of Fairfield, suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Henry Mayo Hospital in Newhall.
In the Sunday night crash, Blackburn was driving his Mazda pickup southbound just north of Highway 14. He hydroplaned in the heavy rain, swerving left and striking the center divider. His vehicle overturned.
Francisco Enciso of Daly City was driving a 1996 Nissan Altima southbound with five passengers. Enciso was unable to avoid colliding with Blackburn’s pickup truck. A 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, driven by Victor Jarillo of Los Angeles, hit the rear of the Nissan, killing four children from Whittier and Oakland in the backseat. Enciso and passenger Yessica Milan, 27 of Whittier sustained major injuries. The four occupants of the Suburban had minor injuries.
A SigAlert at 12:18 a.m. closed all lanes of the southbound I-5 at Highway 14. Traffic was diverted to the truck route. Lanes were reopened at 8:38 a.m.
This is part of the April 16, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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