Six people were killed Thursday morning east of Fillmore in Ventura County when a pickup truck swerved across a center line and smashed head-on into an oncoming automobile, the California Highway Patrol said. There were no survivors.
It was the worst of numerous crashes that kept the Southern California holiday traffic toll mounting.
A CHP spokeswoman said the 43-year-old driver of the eastbound Dodge pickup “for unknown reasons” crossed the line on two-lane California 126 near Fish Hatchery Road and slammed into a westbound Hyundai containing four men and a woman.
The driver of the pickup truck was identified by the CHP as Frank Shoults of Thousand Oaks. The occupants of the Hyundai were identified as Magdaleno Correa, 27, Eva Vega Correa, 28, and Francisco Mejia, 34, all of Santa Ana; Saul De la Cueva 23, of Irvine and Fernando Correa, 20, Costa Mesa.
Ventura County Fire Capt. Frank Horn said there were empty beer cans in the pickup truck and it appeared the driver “had been drinking.”
The CHP spokeswoman would only say, however, that the crash was “under investigation.”
Road Closed Four Hours
The highway, which has no center divider and has been the scene of frequent collisions, was closed in both directions for nearly four hours after the 10:15 a.m. accident.
Four people died in traffic accidents in Los Angeles County over the holiday period, according to the CHP.
Two men, both 28, were killed Wednesday night and four people were injured when the driver of an asphalt-hauling tractor-trailer crashed into a pickup truck as it sat disabled at the side of the Santa Monica Freeway west of Arlington Avenue near Koreatown. The tractor-trailer driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after the 9:25 p.m. crash.
Names of the dead were not immediately released.
The four injured were taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Brotman Medical Center with moderate to major injuries. They were identified as Rene Monge, 19; Yoonkak Tablovae, 20; Juan Moneses, 38, and Jose Sanchez, 26.
Booked for investigation of felony drunk driving and manslaughter was Darryl Love, 27, of Los Angeles. He suffered minor injuries.
CHP Officer Dwight McDonald said Love was westbound on the right shoulder of the freeway in an effort to pass other traffic when his truck struck the victims’ stalled Toyota pickup. The truck-trailer overturned and spilled its load of asphalt.
Shortly after noon Thursday, an unidentified man in his 20s was killed when his car plunged about 75 feet down a Malibu canyon from Encinal Canyon Road about 1 1/2 miles north of Pacific Coast Highway.
The first fatality in Los Angeles County had been Lenore Miller, 33, who died Wednesday evening when her car was struck by a Chevrolet Blazer as she reportedly drove out in front of it from a driveway on Roscoe Boulevard near Topanga Canyon Boulevard in the West Hills section of the San Fernando Valley.
Her 7-year-old daughter, Sarah, remained in critical condition Thursday at Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills with massive head injuries and a broken thigh bone.
Delores Deal, 39, of Encino, a passenger in the Miller car, was taken to West Hills Hospital with moderate injuries.
No one in the Blazer was injured and police said its driver was not cited.