Sunday afternoon traffic on northbound I-5 over the Grapevine was backed up for miles after a crash at about 3:25 p.m. This shows a Honda Civic that ran into the undercarriage of a Ford F450 bus. One passenger was ejected. Seven were injured. For two hours, northbound I-5 motorists were out of their cars, socializing while they waited for traffic to begin moving again. [Eubank photo]
Compiled by Staff of The Mountain Enterprise
NEWS UPDATE (September 17, 2009, 8 a.m.)—The six injured people who were in the overturned converted church bus, struck by an airborne F250 pickup that flew over the center divider of the Interstate 5 on the Grapevine last Sunday afternoon, were members of A City Serene, a San Diego rock band that was on its first tour through Californai and the state of Washington.
Two of the band members are still in a coma, reports from San Diego say, and are in critical condition. Three others have been moved to the "serious" category, one may be released shortly. The driver of the pickup which caused the five-car chain-reaction crash, Troy Martinez, 38 of Caliente, is also still in the hospital.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the six band members airlifted to nearby hospitals are identified as Xander Bourgeois, 20, of Vista; Carly Baker, 19, Kris Renfro, 19, Michael Sherman, 22, and Marc Koch, 20, all of Clairemont Mesa; and Mike Buxbaum, 20, of Mission Valley. The band’s FaceBook page has an appeal to the band’s fans to donate funds to help with the hospital costs.
All northbound traffic across the Grapevine (and into the Mountain Communities) was stopped for two hours while emergency crews from eight agencies sought to aid the injured, investigate and clear the roadway. More about the band is available here.
NEWS UPDATE (September 14, 2009, 1:16 p.m.) Seven people were hurt (five with major injuries) in the five-car, chain-reaction accident on the Grapevine that began Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3:25 p.m. about three miles north of El Tejon School. The crash closed the Grapevine until 6 p.m. [Despite erroneous television reports, there have been no fatalities at this time from this massive accident.—Editor]
A 2006 Ford F250 pickup driven by Troy Martinez, 38 of Caliente, was traveling south on I-5 “at an unsafe speed” (according to the California Highway Patrol report) when the driver lost control, crossed the center divider, hit a dirt mound and became airborne.
The pickup landed in the northbound lanes of the freeway, colliding with two northbound vehicles, a 2002 Honda Civic and a private 1991 Ford 450 bus from San Diego, which overturned. One individual was ejected from the bus. It came to rest on its right side on the east shoulder.
Debris from that collision struck a 2007 Chevy Tahoe. A fifth northbound vehicle, a 1998 Honda Civic, could not avoid the overturned bus and struck its undercarriage.
Six passengers required air transport to local hospitals, according to CHP spokesperson Mark Ehly. Vehicles and passengers involved were from Vista, Caliente, San Diego, Atwater and Santa Cruz. Four helicopters and a ground ambulance were used to transport the injured. The driver of the pickup and several parties in the bus had to be extricated with jaws-of-life. Three passengers escaped uninjured.
Both directions of I-5 were affected. Southbound lanes were closed for only about 10 minutes to accommodate emergency vehicles, but all northbound lanes were closed for almost two hours. The freeway was not fully re-opened until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Agencies responding to the scene included CHP, Mercy Air, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Kern County Fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, Hall Ambulance and American Medical Response.
BREAKING NEWS: LEBEC (Monday, Sept. 14, 2009, 8 a.m.)—A multicar crash on the northbound Interstate 5 about two miles north of El Tejon School occurred on Sunday, Sept. 13 at about 4 p.m. Details are being compiled by the California Highway Patrol and will be posted here as soon as they are available. Fort Tejon Station CHP spokesperson Mark Ehly said there were major injuries. Northbound travelers were stopped in their tracks for miles. Many were out of their cars, socializing with others in what became a four-lane, multi-mile parking lot on I-5. Reports are still coming into The Mountain Enterprise from community reporters and the CHP.
This is part of the September 11, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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