Two mothers, four children killed when big rig rear ends minivan on the 5 Freeway

CHP MAIT, Major Accident Investigation Team, investigates accident where six people were killed early Tuesday morning in a fiery accident on the southbound 5 Freeway in unincorporated Gorman.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A rear-end collision involving a minivan on the southbound 5 Freeway in Gorman killed four children, two women and seriously injured two men early Tuesday after the van rolled down an embankment and burst into flames, authorities said.

The victims were two mothers and their children, said California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada. They were inside in the van, which was on the shoulder but partially blocking the No. 4 lane, when it was rear-ended by a big rig just before 3:30 a.m., she said.

The fathers for each family were seriously injured and airlifted to the hospital, she said. It was not immediately known whether they also were inside the van when it was hit.


After the collision, the van rolled down a short embankment and caught fire.

“When we arrived on scene, we saw the van starting to catch fire. We saw the husbands came running up to us, told us their families were in the vehicle still,” CHP Officer Dan Williams told KABC. “My partner went and tried to get in through the van door. The flames came at him, he had to back out. I grabbed the fire extinguisher… but we were unable to assist in getting anyone out of the van.”

The women and children were trapped inside and died, officials said.

“I can’t even describe it. You pull up and see the victims inside — it’s heartbreaking,” said Capt. Keith Mora of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The van was stopped after a prior, minor collision with a sedan, Posada said.

An investigation into the crash was ongoing and two freeway lanes were open for commuters by 6:30 a.m.

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9:57 a.m.: This post has been updated with details from CHP.

This article was originally published at 7:08 a.m.