Local : Chain-Reaction Accident in Pacoima Closes Down Freeway for an Hour

From Times staff and wire service reports

A chain-reaction accident this morning on the Golden State Freeway in Pacoima resulted in five injuries and the closure of the entire northbound side of the freeway for an hour, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The 12:50 a.m. accident just south of the Van Nuys Boulevard exit was still under investigation, and few details were available. CHP Officer Linda Powell said it appears that five cars were tangled in three separate accidents at the scene.

Four drivers and a passenger suffered minor to moderate injuries and were transported to Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills and San Fernando Community Hospital. They were identified as Richard Sorenson, 53, and his passenger, Kathleen Smith, 40, both of Acton; Robert Carnegie, 42, of Valencia; Katsuhiro Maruoka, 41, of Canyon Country, and Virgil Nitescu, 37, of Castaic.

Exactly what caused the first two cars to collide was not known, Powell said. The other cars apparently crashed while attempting to go around the first accident. The CHP said all five northbound lanes of the freeway were closed until about 2 a.m.