Major accident occurs in La Canada – AGAIN! But this time, people died.

At around 5:49 pm this evening, a car carrier coming down Angeles Crest Highway flew through the light at the bottom of the hill and smashed in the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse. It took out several cars in the process, and killed at least two people. Many others were injured. The channel 9 reporter was on the verge of tears when she noted that one of the victims was a baby.

I had passed through the intersection just 12 minutes before, on my way to a meeting. Here’s a picture I took at 7 pm, when I returned:

la canada accident angeles crest highway

This town is devastated. Not only is it tragic, but it’s senseless. It’s no surprise, as this has happened many times before. This past September 5th, I witnessed this big rig fly through the driveway between Hill Street Cafe and the bookstore. That time we got lucky: no one was injured. Same with the time that the septic truck lost its brakes.

Local Girl Scout Malia Mailes recently stood before the La Canada Flintridge City Council and CalTrans representatives and noted the outrageously high number of truck crashes at this intersection. She called on CalTrans to ensure that Angeles Crest Highway is not used at a truck route. On this news this evening, she said that she’d looked through CalTrans documents, and there was nothing that explicitly bars trucks from this route. The channel 4 news reporter read a statement from Mayor Laura Olhasso stating that the city had repeatedly asked CalTrans to take action, but they hadn’t.

Nothing changed, except our worst fears were realized.

The helicopters are still buzzing overhead, documenting the investigation for the local news. Hopefully further above, in heaven, the victims are at peace.


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13 Responses to “Major accident occurs in La Canada – AGAIN! But this time, people died.”

  1. I can’t stop shivering from reading this chilling news.

    04/02/2009 at 12:01 am
  2. Holly #

    I’m speechless…this is so awful…

    04/02/2009 at 2:48 am
  3. Carmen DC #

    I was leaving the La Canada Community Center(right next to Hillside Cafe) when this took place. Gymboree has open gym till 5:45 so when that was over, I loaded up Ricky into the car and proceeded out. I was going to turn left to go onto Foothill, when I heard the MOST horrendous screeching. I couldn’t see Foothill clearly but I did see the big rig of cars. ….I got scared so I made a right instead and proceeded to go home through the scenic route(personally, since I couldn’t see, I thought the sound was coming from some seriously faulty equipment in the development that is going on next to Hillside Cafe).
    When I heard the news, I had my flashback and asked the time of the accident. It was then that I realized that the horrendous sound was that big truck…
    I can’t believe my son and I were was so close. I am grateful we are all okay. I just wish I would have realized what really had happened so I could have stopped and helped somehow.

    04/02/2009 at 7:15 am
  4. Carmen, I’m so glad you and Ricky are ok. We were both so close. :(

    04/02/2009 at 7:47 am
  5. Cafe Pasadena #

    I’m very familiar with your Deadman’s Intersection – Angeles Crest FW & Foothill – when I visit a client @ Verdugo Hills Med Ctr.
    It’s always struck me, no pun intended, as a crazy intersection to have a happening place. Not just bcuz you have the steep decline coming down from ACrest onto a busy Foothill. Also, the 210 FW o\ON/OFF ramps cut thru it, plus many sets of traffic lights.

    Didn’t something like this happen around here last year? Thank God the govt is there to rush to the rescue as usual!

    04/02/2009 at 9:11 am
  6. I was there too, I really hope Caltrans fixes this problem immediately now.

    04/02/2009 at 10:19 am
  7. Mini #

    I was there, and I can hardly overcome what I saw. So many lives have been shuddered, including the poor truck driver, who was was walking around visibly shaken like a zombie.

    I am so angry, because this carnage was 100% preventable, if it was not for the negligence of the State. The city has a thick file of correspondence with CalTrans about the problem. You can get it by emailing to any of the city council members. CalTrans responses are outrageously careless.

    But it is also OUR fault. We have not raised hell to demand that the state take safety measures to solve the problem. Why in the world should those politicians take care of us if we are not letting them know what’s bothering us?

    Have you called the office of Anthony Portantino yet? Tel. 916-319-2044

    04/02/2009 at 11:32 am
  8. Mini #

    Here is a link to some of the correspondence with CalTrans

    04/02/2009 at 11:44 am
  9. I saw this on the news last night. I drive through there about once a week, and will be doing so tonight. It’s horrifying. Amazing close calls by KCH and her commenters.
    There was supposed to be a book signing at the bookstore tonight – imagine if there had been one last night…

    04/02/2009 at 1:22 pm
  10. Thanks, Mini.

    So it seems that:
    1) CalTrans wasn’t doing anything that we know of
    2) The city wanted to explore runaway vehicle escape lanes, but
    3) The city wanted to keep the lower part of Angeles Crest looking attractive, without escape lanes.

    The main place that trucks (or cars) are going to lose their brakes is on that last stretch of Angeles Crest, so that should be where the escape lanes are.

    Or, just put a big sand dune where Hill St. Restaurant is now. But that wouldn’t help keep traffic on Foothill safe.

    Mostly, we need to ban trucks from going over Angeles Crest Highway, make big signs to advertise it, and then police it vigilantly.

    Again, thanks for the link.

    04/03/2009 at 1:00 am
  11. Joana #

    Its such an awful situation, so many people get injured every year in accidents and even then we don’t follow traffic rules. Usually the main cause of the accidents is speeding. Although, every road has its own prescribed speed limits but we don’t care. You can see youngsters crossing lights and speeding on roads every day.

    On one such occasion I saw a youngster getting a speeding ticket in calgary, he had to seek legal help :

    Once it was over he was advised not to repeat the offense again, I was surprised to see him following day standing in front of red light and following speed limits. I don’t know if the effect was of the speeding ticket or the advise he got from his lawyer. what ever the reason he was on track. What do you think should be done to avoid such accidents ?

    06/15/2011 at 8:45 am


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