A 27-year-old Anaheim woman was killed early Wednesday when her fast-moving car slammed into a concrete wall on the Riverside Freeway near the Santa Ana Freeway interchange, authorities said.
Arlene Vasquez was driving her 1991 Pontiac Grand Am eastbound when it drifted to the right, hit the wall and then rolled, throwing her from the car, California Highway Patrol Officer Debbie Sparso said.
The CHP was unaware of any witnesses to the crash, which occurred on the border between Anaheim and Fullerton between 3 and 5 a.m., when the wreck was discovered. Investigators believe Vasquez was "going very fast" just before the crash, Sparso said.
The car came to rest off the freeway in a construction zone near the interchange and the Magnolia Avenue offramp.
The accident caused massive traffic jams on both the Riverside and Santa Ana freeways during the morning rush hour because many curious commuters slowed down to gawk at the twisted wreckage and the team of CHP investigators, Sparso said.
The roadway where the accident occurred is in the middle of massive freeway construction zone, part of the $1-billion widening of the Santa Ana Freeway that began in 1996.
A 1998 Orange County Transportation Authority study found the Riverside-Santa Ana freeway interchange to be one of the most dangerous in the county.
CHP records show that 33 accidents, including 10 involving trucks, have occurred at the interchange from 1997 to April 1999. In the three years before the roadwork began, there were 14 accidents, CHP figures show.
After two drivers were killed in a fiery truck crash there last year, Caltrans installed larger speed-limit signs and posted an additional warning for motorists approaching the busy freeway connection.
The cause of Wednesday's accident remained under investigation, but as of Wednesday afternoon, there was nothing to indicate that another vehicle was involved.