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Big Rig Pileup Injures 2, Wrecks Commute

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A chain-reaction pileup involving three big rigs and a sedan on the Riverside Freeway early Wednesday left two men injured and morning traffic snarled for hours, authorities said.

The 7:20 a.m. collisions began when a Lucky Food Centers truck traveling east on the Riverside Freeway swerved to avoid mistakenly exiting onto the Orange Freeway, said a California Highway Patrol spokesman. The truck hit another 18-wheeler, causing a third truck to jackknife as the driver tried to avoid the collision. The sedan slammed into the pileup.

The drivers of the Lucky truck, William McCollough, and the second truck, Bairon De Leon, were both injured and taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where they were reported in stable condition.

De Leon was not wearing a seat belt, which is not required in big rigs, and was thrown from his truck by the force of the collision, CHP spokeswoman Angel Johnson said. He suffered internal injuries, officials said. McCollough had only minor injuries, but firefighters had to cut him free from the crumpled cab of his truck.

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Nobody in the sedan was injured.

Authorities shut down the eastbound lanes of the Riverside Freeway until about 10 a.m., causing a traffic backup that extended about seven miles, Johnson said.


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