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Freeway Went to Pot, Motorists Got Nailed

Times Staff Writer

The rest stop came to the motorist Monday.

A dropped portable potty clogged traffic on the San Diego Freeway in Irvine during the early-morning commute.

And later in the day, drivers might well have sung “If I Had a Hammer” while waiting on the same freeway because of a spilled load of nails, which shut down all six southbound lanes near Seal Beach Boulevard.

The first incident occurred at 5:40 a.m. in the northbound lanes south of MacArthur Boulevard, causing a chain-reaction accident and a two-hour-long sig-alert.

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California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Lundquist said the portable toilet fell from the back of a moving truck and landed in the third lane, which caused the driver of a small pickup to slam on his brakes.

The truck, driven by Bich Kong Yu, 58, of Garden Grove, was rear-ended by a Dodge one-ton pickup driven by Kirk Werner, 46, of Bellflower, Lundquist said. Werner swerved to the left, hitting a Chevy Citation driven by Hien Phi Tran, 22, of Orange. Tran spun around into the sixth lane, striking a Toyota station wagon driven by Michelle Anne Slayman, 36, of Orange. Tran and Yu suffered minor injuries, Lundquist said.

It is not known who lost the portable toilet.

The CHP was searching for the driver who dumped the load of nails onto the freeway shortly before 2 p.m. All southbound lanes were closed for one hour while the nails were cleaned up, CHP Officer Ruben Perez said, forcing traffic to be diverted onto Seal Beach Boulevard.

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But it appears that few tires were damaged in the mishap. No calls were received from angry motorists, and no tow trucks were beckoned from the call boxes in the area, he said.


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