3 Die When Truck Plunges From Freeway

Times Staff Writer

Three people were killed when a pickup truck flew off the Gardena Freeway in Compton early Monday, falling about 100 feet down the embankment and landing upside-down near the Blue Line light-rail tracks, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 2 a.m., when the pickup, heading west on the freeway, went out of control and plummeted over the guardrail. The pickup clipped some overhead wires and became engulfed in flames before landing on its roof near the southbound tracks by Acacia Avenue.

The dead included a man and two women, all of whom were in the truck, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Webster said. No other identification was immediately released.

Officials arrived shortly after 2 a.m. and pronounced the truck's occupants dead.

Webster said speed may have been a factor, but authorities are still investigating. Thousands of commuters experienced delays while southbound Blue Line trains were routed onto the northbound tracks, MTA officials said.

The Blue Line runs between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach and is one of the nation's busiest light-rail lines, authorities said.

Repairs of the electrical lines that power the trains were expected to take about two days, MTA spokesman Luis Inzunza said. The line will remain open during repairs, but an MTA bus will run between the Imperial and Del Amo stations to alleviate the backup.

Riders are encouraged to take Metro Bus 60 or Metro Bus 360.

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