A driver said he was nearly killed Wednesday when a truck lost control near the intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard.
Rich Jessup, a Flintridge Preparatory School alumnus and Glendale resident, said he was driving eastbound on Foothill Boulevard shortly after 11 a.m. when he heard a sound “like if a crane dropped a bunch of scrap metal.” He said he saw a box truck coming down on the sidewalk in the intersection near the 76 gas station, and moved his vehicle just in time to avoid a collision.
“It would have creamed me. I would have been dead,” Jessup said.
Sgt. Vincent Vanderhoeven of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station said a truck traveling southbound on Angeles Crest Highway suffered a mechanical failure before crashing into a sign and a boulder, coming to rest on the south corner of the intersection. Both the driver of the truck and the passenger suffered minor injuries, he added, and were taken to a local hospital.
The same intersection has long been plagued by collisions — some deadly. A crash there in 2009 killed two, a 12-year-old girl and her father, and injured at least 12 others.
“This is like the fourth [crash] I’ve experienced,” said Cesar Valencia, a manager at Hill Street Café, which is on the south side of Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway.
After the 2009 crash, the state passed legislation banning vehicles weighing 9,000 or more pounds or with three or more axles from driving on the section of Angeles Crest Highway between LCF and county Route N4. The traffic division at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station was not immediately available to answer questions about whether the truck that crashed Wednesday was in compliance with that law.
Sources told the Outlook Valley Sun the incident was caused when the truck lost its breaks, though this was not confirmed by the local sheriff’s station, which is still investigating the accident.
Other Past Crashes on Angeles Crest Highway
2009: In one of the most horrific tragedies in the city’s history, a semitrailer collided with a car on Angeles Crest Highway just north of Foothill Boulevard on April 1, 2009, killing two and injuring at least 12 others. It was the lead story on many television newscasts that day and evening, and continued to be a major story in the weeks following. Angelina Posca, 12, and her father, Angel Jorge Posca, 58, were killed when a car-carrier truck crashed into their red Ford Escort as it headed off the eastbound 210 Freeway. The impact and the truck, driven by Marcos Costa of Massachusetts, pushed the car down Angeles Crest to Foothill Boulevard before it crashed into the Flintridge Bookstore.
The city reached a $50,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of the deceased victims in January 2012, said City Manager Mark Alexander. The Posca family settled with Caltrans for $2.25 million, confirmed agency spokesman Eric Menjivar. According to reports, Costa was also ordered to pay $87,204 to a victim compensation fund and $23,762 to LCF. Former LCF Mayor Laura Olhasso said the city was lucky that Anthony Portantino, her former colleague on the City Council and a then-state assemblyman, and Carol Liu, a former LCF mayor who moved on to the state Senate, were able to move legislation so quickly. The legislation banned vehicles with three or more axles or a gross weight of 9,000 or more pounds on the segment of Angeles Crest between LCF and county Route N4.
2008: In September, an 18-wheeler carrying 80,000 pounds of onions from Idaho lost its brakes coming down Angeles Crest and crashed into at least six cars in the Hill Street Cafe parking lot. Fortunately, the truck went through a green light and the driver was able to maneuver it into the parking lot and not into the restaurant.
2005: An Andy Gump trump lost its brakes and pushed a pick-up truck into a fire hydrant, flooding the Hill Street Cafe and the Allen Lund building. Water from the hydrant shot up 30 feet into the air and onto the roof of the Allen Lund building and the truck ran into a wall of the restaurant before it stopped in the parking lot.
1988: There were no serious injuries when a truck transporting movie equipment lost its brakes on the highway. The driver made a wide right turn in an attempt to avoid Lloyd’s Restaurant and instead ran into the Flower Pavilion.
1987: A man driving down the highway lost control of his car, jumped the Foothill median and slammed into a telephone pole. One passenger was in critical condition and three others suffered minor injuries.
1980: A truck driver used the runaway median in the center of the highway on the approach to Foothill and avoided a potentially major accident. It was later determined that some of his truck brakes were faulty.
1976: A truck driver broke two ribs and was burned by battery acid when his truck lost its brakes on the highway and overturned.