1 dies after car plunges off Angeles Crest Highway

A car plunged off Angeles Crest Highway on Saturday afternoon, killing an occupant in what was at least the fourth fatal solo-vehicle crash since the highway reopened, the California Highway Patrol reported.

A stretch of the steep, winding route through the San Gabriel Mountains was closed from January 2010 to June of this year for repair of road damage caused by heavy rain that washed debris from slopes denuded by the Station fire.

Three fatal accidents — one involving a motorcycle and the other two solo car crashes — occurred on the highway during the first three weeks after it reopened, and CHP officers blamed all three deaths on excessive speed.

In Saturday’s crash, reported to the CHP shortly after 2 p.m., the driver lost control of the car two miles north of Mt. Wilson-Red Box Road, said Officer Anthony Martin.


The vehicle left the road, struck something and overturned, Martin said. He didn’t yet have a report from investigating officers at the scene as to what the car struck, who was killed or whether there were other occupants or injuries.

Before the 16-month closure, the road had been off limits to big rigs from April through June 2009, after a double-deck, car-carrying truck with brake problems crashed into several cars and plowed into a bookstore at the foot of the highway in La Cañada-Flintridge, killing two and injuring a dozen. It was the second accident on the highway involving a big rig in just a year.