A Ventura County sheriff’s search-and-rescue team member was killed and nine other people were injured Saturday morning in a crash on the rain-slicked 5 Freeway near Gorman in northern Los Angeles County, authorities said.
The crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes at Vista Del Lago Road, south of Pyramid Lake, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
Los Angeles County firefighters were assisting the Sheriff’s Department with the rollover crash that left first responders “severely” injured.
The victim, Jeff Dye, was a volunteer with the Fillmore Mountain Search and Rescue Team, the Sheriff’s Department said. Three others hurt in the collision were also members of the crew.
Dye and the rest of the group were on their way to Mt. Pinos for a training exercise when they saw a crash on the freeway near the lake south of Gorman and stopped to help, the Sheriff’s Department said.
“While they were assisting people, a vehicle plowed into the scene,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
The Fillmore team is composed of a group of “highly skilled volunteers” who respond to wilderness emergencies in Ventura County, Buschow said.
Team members specialize in search management, urban and water rescue and emergency medical services, among other types of aid, and receive special training. The Fillmore team had planned to go through winter training in the snow.
“They stopped to help people because that’s what they do,” Buschow said. “This is another tough day for us.”
He praised the volunteers, noting that they are “people with full-time jobs” who “dedicate an unbelievable number of hours every year” to serving their community.
“They drop everything and go when the phone rings,” he said. “This is a terrible blow to our family and to our agencies…. It’s just a tough day.”