Dual 405 crashes create extra traffic problems

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

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SHERMAN OAKS (CNS) – Accidents on the northbound and southbound San Diego (405) Freeway today — one of them fatal — temporarily shut down some lanes in both directions and turned the normally tough morning commute through the Sepulveda Pass into a nightmare for motorists trying to get to work or head out of town for the holidays.

Both accidents occurred almost directly opposite each other near the Valley Vista exit leading to Ventura Boulevard.

The first crash, which resulted in a car fire, took place on the southbound 405 Freeway around 6:20 a.m., and shut down the carpool and numbers 1 and 2 lanes, said California Highway Patrol Officer Christopher Cracraft.

The second crash in the northbound lanes took place about 15 minutes later, said fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey. It resulted in one fatality and two other people transported to the hospitals in serious condition, he said.

Cracraft said the second accident, which also shut down three lanes, involved four vehicles.

“The fatality was a 64-year-old man,” Cracraft said. His name was withheld pending family notification.

The injured parties in the fatal accident were a man and woman who were taken to Northridge Hospital, authorities said.

The fatal crash temporarily shut down all northbound traffic, but CHP officers then reopened the two far right lanes to help with traffic flow, Cracraft said. Both accidents resulted in SigAlerts being declared by the CHP, Cracraft said.

As of 8:30 a.m., the southbound lanes had been reopened but the northbound lanes were expected to remain shut down for several more hours because of the death investigation, Cracraft said.

Both accidents remain under investigation by the CHP.

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