Story updated at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17
By Eric Heinz
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers closed the northbound off-ramp to Avenida Pico Wednesday morning after one person died in a car collision at the bottom of the off-ramp. At about 10 a.m., CHP officials said the off-ramp, Exit 76, was reopened at 12:30 p.m. The person who died was a 57-year-old man from San Marcos, according to a CHP press release.
At 8:15 a.m., CHP received a call about a vehicle being wedged under a Freightliner semi-truck, CHP Officer Rafael Reynoso said. The car was a 2011 BMW 335.
“We have reports of the vehicle slowing down for the off-ramp and unexpectedly speeding back up at a high rate of speed,” Reynoso said. “First, we believe that he collided into the exit sign, Exit 76 at the top of the off-ramp. (He) continued on down, side-swiping the guardrail (on the west side of the off-ramp), and he continued on to rear-end a stopped semi-truck that was stopped for the red light,” which is at the intersection of Avenida Pico.
Reynoso said the man was likely dead immediately after the collision.
A few men wearing jackets with the same decal that was emblazoned on the flatbed the driver struck were on-scene but declined to comment, and a Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) representative requested privacy on their behalf.
“The driver has been cooperating with the investigation,” Reynoso said.
The driver of the Freightliner sustained minor injuries from the collision and remained at the scene after the collision, Reynoso said.
A press release distributed by CHP stated drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the collision. The investigation of the incident is still on-going.
Vehicles were rerouted around the scene as the off-ramp was closed.
CHP officials, Orange County Coroner, Orange County Fire Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the scene.
This is a developing story. More information will be provided when it becomes available.