3-vehicle crash on rain-slicked freeway leaves 5 dead, 6 injured

Three young siblings from Whittier were among five people killed and six others injured late Sunday in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 in the Newhall Pass area, authorities said Monday.

The accident occurred shortly before midnight Sunday when a pickup truck spun out of control on the rain-slicked freeway. The southbound lanes were closed for much of the day in the wake of a storm that dumped an inch or more of rain in areas of Southern California.

John J. Blackburn, 54, of Frazier Park was driving the 1996 Mazda pickup south on Interstate 5 just north of the 14 Freeway when he veered into the center divider and overturned into oncoming traffic, the California Highway Patrol said. He was among those killed in the crash.

A Nissan Altima with six people, including the three children, was traveling behind the pickup at about 60 mph. The driver hit the brakes and veered to the right but was unable to avoid smashing into the overturned pickup, CHP Officer John Lutz said.

A Chevrolet Suburban struck the Nissan from behind at about 50 mph. It was unclear whether the three children, riding in the back seat, were properly restrained, Lutz said.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the siblings as Xochitl Hernandez, 5; Edgar Hernandez, 8; and Cynthia Hernandez, 9. Luis Villegas, 16, of Oakland was in the back seat of the Nissan with the children and was also killed.

The driver of the Nissan and a passenger in the front seat were seriously injured and taken to hospitals. Authorities identified the driver as Francisco J. Enciso, 25, of Daly City, Calif., and the passenger as Yessica Milan, 27, of Whittier.

The Suburban’s driver, Victor Jarillo, 34, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of driving without a license, and a passenger was taken into custody on suspicion of providing false information to officers, Lutz said. All four people in the Suburban were injured.

The crash remains under investigation.