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60 Freeway closure: Spilled milk, diesel complicate cleanup

60 Freeway closure: Spilled milk, diesel complicate cleanup
Wreckage lies on both sides of the center divider after a crash in which a milk tanker overturned on the 60 Freeway near South El Monte. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A crash involving at least eight vehicles, including a milk tanker that overturned, shut down the 60 Freeway near South El Monte in both directions today as crews work to clear a large debris field.

As of 8:15 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said they didn't expect the freeway to start opening up, first on the westbound side, for at least another two to three hours.

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In all, 14 people were taken to area hospitals, three of them in critical condition, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Keith Mora said.

A Hazmat team was sent in to help clean up diesel that was leaking from the overturned tanker, which also sent a load of milk into the storm drain, officials said.

The tanker truck was straddling the center divider after the crash so firefighters pushed it over for safety reasons, spilling the milk, a CHP official said.

Firefighters also had to put out two vehicle fires.

The cause of the crash, which was reported shortly after 5:40 a.m., remained under investigation, according to the CHP. Wreckage that was strewn across the center divider prompted a SigAlert for the full freeway closure at about 6:15 a.m.

The closure jammed the morning commute for miles, with officials suggesting the 10 Freeway as an alternate route.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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