Light rain showers led to a rash of traffic accidents and two deaths on rain-slick Los Angeles-area freeways Saturday.
A man and woman were killed in a hit-and-run accident on the eastbound Artesia Freeway near Cerritos early Saturday, when a truck hit them and their disabled car, which was parked on the shoulder during a light rain.
The two victims were identified as Victor Hernandez, 42, and Angelica Ramirez, 26, both of Compton. An 11-year-old child suffered minor injuries.
A suspect was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers shortly after the accident driving south on the San Gabriel River Freeway. He was identified as Jeong Hyun Lee, 29, of Cerritos.
In another incident, a nine-car pile-up on the Golden State Freeway in East Los Angeles left eight people injured, three critically, officers said.
CHP Officer Irma Broslima was hit by a car while she was placing flares at the scene of a traffic accident on the Long Beach Freeway north of Atlantic Boulevard.
The accident occurred when a motorist rear-ended one of the disabled cars involved in the earlier accident.
Smashed Through Divider
The chain-reaction occurred when a truck went out of control in the rain, smashed through a concrete center divider and knocked chunks of cement into two of the southbound lanes.
A motorist traveling south veered right to avoid the accident and his car came to rest on top of a rail separating the freeway from an off-ramp, deputies said. Six or seven other cars were involved in minor collisions as they also braked to avoid the truck.
No one was seriously injured. Broslima was treated for bruises and abrasions at a hospital and released.
The rainy weather also resulted in cancellation of a test flight for the experimental plane Voyager.
The experimental plane "flew beautifully" Friday on its first test flight since breaking a propeller six weeks ago, Voyager spokesman Peter Riva said. But as the rain fell Saturday morning, he said: "That's not a flying condition we want to test the Voyager in."
The next flight will depend on the weather conditions, Riva said.
Rain From Tropics
An arctic storm that had been expected to reach the Southland over the weekend failed to materialize, but clouds from a low-pressure system born in the tropics brought .03 of an inch of rain to downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
Forecasters explained that satellite pictures showed the tropical storm was about 600 miles southwest of here on Saturday, with numerous showers and thundershowers clustered round its center. Los Angeles is on the edge of the system and will be experiencing occasional surges of moisture rotating around the storm's center.
As a result, considerable high cloudiness with occasional light showers is forecast for the area through today, with the showers becoming more numerous on Monday, the weather service said.
Saturday's Civic Center high reached 78 degrees. The similar reading is expected today.