VIDEO: Man Killed in Crash on 134 Freeway Was Van Nuys High Custodian

The victim's son is still in the hospital.

LAFD truck at the scene of the accident. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Mark Snelgrove).
LAFD truck at the scene of the accident. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Mark Snelgrove).

By City News Service

A drunken driver going the wrong way on a freeway in Eagle Rock caused a head-on crash just after midnight Sunday, and one man was killed as he stood outside the wreckage and a third car smashed in, California Highway Patrol officers said.

CHP officers said two men from San Fernando, one 53 years old and the other 29, were standing on the Ventura (134) Freeway when that third car hit. The older man, Keith Salvador Orellana, was killed there, said Coroner's Lt. Fred Corral.

A witness told City News Service that Orellana's body was discovered after the crash, below a pair of bridges that carry the 134 Freeway across a hillside, indicating that he either jumped or was shoved over the railing by the crash and down to the surface.

The fatal chain of events began with 911 callers reporting the wrong-way vehicle on the long stretch from Glendale towards Pasadena just before midnight. CHP officers later determined that car, a 2002 Nissan, was piloted by a 60-year-old man from Duarte, who later was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.

At 12:01 a.m., the wrong-way car crashed head-on onto a second vehicle near the Figueroa Street undercrossing.

CHP reports were not clear why the two San Fernando men were on the freeway lanes, or if they were victims of the initial crash. But they were in a bad place a few moments later when another 2002 Nissan, heading west in the carpool lane, smashed into the wreckage and the two men.

The 53-year-old man died at the scene. Paramedics rushed the 20-year-old man, with major injuries, to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

Minor injuries were reported for the Duarte man suspected of drunken driving. The 69-year-old woman driving the third vehicle was treated for minor injuries at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and CHP officers have not cited her.

A fourth vehicle, a 2014 Kia, was also damaged in the second crash. The two people in the Kia also suffered minor injuries during the second crash.

The CHP asked anyone who saw the crashes to call their Altadena office at (626) 296-8100.

Mark Lassman January 27, 2014 at 04:03 PM
There may or may not be some liability on the part of the second driver, the one who struck the two men, as far as whether or not that driver could have avoided the accident. HOWEVER, because the first driver was intoxicated AND driving in the wrong direction, the full liability will likely fall on THAT driver, due to his actions having caused the initial accident, as well as setting in motion the chain of events that followed. It’s a simple “but for” legal analysis. “But for” the actions of the first driver, the initial accident as well as the second, which caused the man’s death, would not have occurred.


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