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2 killed in crash of runaway rig on PCH

A gravel truck loses control on a steep pass and slams into two vehicles in Malibu.

October 25, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

Two motorists died in Malibu on Wednesday when the driver of a big rig lost control of his truck, barreled down a steep canyon road, crossed an intersection and plowed into two cars, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 10 a.m. when the driver of a gravel truck made an illegal detour onto Kanan Dume Road, a steep canyon pass that is off-limits to heavy trucks, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The driver had apparently taken the route after authorities closed another nearby road because of wildfire activity.

The driver lost control of his truck on the 8% grade, gained speed, ran a red light and plowed into the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway.

The truck slammed into a Mercedes-Benz, killing its driver instantly, then struck a sport utility vehicle. The truck then plowed into an embankment, killing the driver.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office identified the truck driver as Hovik Oganes Papikyan, 34, of Glendale. Officials are still trying to determine the identity of the driver of the Mercedes.

The driver of the SUV, a county firefighter, suffered a broken ankle, authorities said. He was pulled from the wreckage by another motorist.

Investigators believe the rig may have reached speeds of 70 mph and was unable to stop at the end of an eight-mile downhill stretch.

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