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Crash Ignites Wall of Fire on O.C. Freeway

November 04, 1990|KEVIN JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bob Baker, TNT's safety supervisor, said the truck was bound for the company's terminal in San Diego when the accident occurred. Baker described the contents as "general freight" that were to be dropped off in San Diego and delivered to businesses there.

By mid-morning, a small crowd of people had gathered on the Fairview overpass to watch giant tow trucks right the burned-out wreckage. The remains were loaded on flatbed trucks and hauled away. Ellison said the force of the crash and fire broke Fulton's rig into three pieces.

Burrus said the freeway's northbound lanes were opened first, about 9:30 a.m. Traffic was moving in both directions by 11:30 a.m.

Only minutes after traffic was allowed back on the northbound lanes, Ellison said officers were called to another traffic accident, involving a drunk driver, immediately across the center divider from the truck pileup.

"We were just getting inundated," Ellison said. "We could not win today. We have to laugh because if you don't, you cry."

Freeway openings could not have come too soon for those who were commuting to work Saturday and others who were stalled a frustrating few miles from John Wayne Airport and departing flights.

Airline ticket agents said travelers were arriving late for their flights all morning because of the traffic delays created by the crash.

A Delta Air Lines agent, who did not want to be identified, said about 10 passengers missed their planes and were placed on later flights.

"Some people were running here completely out of breath," the woman said. "They were pretty nice considering the problem."

Pam McPhall of Continental Airlines said traffic delays left other passengers stressed-out and airline employees late for work.

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