Feb 22, 2023
A fatal car accident involving a big rig semi-trailer occurred on the 101 Freeway near Woodland Hills, California, Wednesday morning. The deadly big rig crash temporarily forced closure of the northbound lanes through Woodland Hills, according to a KTLA report.
Police were diverting vehicles at De Soto, Canoga, and Topanga Canyon, and traffic was backed up for miles around 6 a.m., with six lanes narrowed down to one exit lane, an NBC News Los Angeles report confirmed.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) released a statement indicating that the fatal big rig/car crash took place at approximately 12:30 a.m. Wednesday near Shop Avenue.
Responding CHP officers found a vehicle – identified as an SUV – stuck more than halfway underneath the back of a big rig that had stopped in the gore point, according to KTLA.
The vehicle was “crumpled into a pile of debris behind the [big rig] truck,” KTLA’s report confirmed.
The driver of the vehicle died at the scene. The identity of the deceased individual has yet to be released, according to multiple media reports. The cause of the fatal big rig crash near the 101 Freeway gore point remains under investigation, NBC Los Angeles said.
Two other individuals were injured in the big rig crash, and after being freed from the wreckage, those victims were taken to the hospital with “serious injuries” according to FOX 11 Los Angeles.
“Officials said the early stages of the investigation reveal the SUV was traveling between 80 and 90 mph when it struck the center divider and landed in the embankment. The SUV also collided with a big rig and the driver suffered minor injuries in the crash,” FOX 11 reported.
“A SigAlert was issued for the closure of all northbound lanes of the 101 Freeway while emergency crews responded,” according to KTLA. The SigAlert was eventually canceled and northbound lanes were reopened shortly after 6 a.m.
At the time of this post, no additional information has been made available by the California Highway Patrol.
The ‘gore point’ is described by Wikipedia as “… a triangular plot of land (as designated when a road forks when intersecting a second road, or merges on and off from a larger one). A ‘virtual’ (or ‘theoretical’) gore is a triangular shaped space, characteristically marked off with distinguishing highway paint, often found leading to the unpaved area of a larger physical gore.”
The term “gore” (describing a space) is a historic one, representing a characteristically triangular piece of land which is often designated incidentally when two surveys failed to meet, Wikipedia confirms. “Etymologically ‘gore’ is derived from g?r, meaning spear.”
A recent report from local ABC 30 Fresno offered some safety guidelines in relation to gore points. Specifically, the article addressed the common question:
If you’re about to miss your freeway exit, are you allowed to drive through the “gore point” that separates the freeway lanes and the exit lane?
In speaking with California Highway Patrol Sergeant Brian Pennings, ABC 30 indicated:
[The gore point is] “actually considered an extension of the shoulder and is marked by solid white lines.”
“Because it’s an extension of the shoulder, it technically is illegal to travel across that portion of the roadway in order to make your exit – it could be considered driving on the shoulder,” Pennings told ABC 30.
“However, more importantly, that could be considered an unsafe turning movement and that is a moving violation,” the CHP sergeant added.
“So how do you prevent this from happening? Well first of all don’t drive distracted, be aware and be conscientious of your surroundings and plan ahead,” Pennings asked.
“If you’re going to need to take the exit, make sure you’re in the appropriate lane for you to do so safely so that you’re not putting that type of situation,” the CHP sergeant said.
Stopping at a gore point can be a particularly dangerous act. But that is especially true when it comes to 18-wheelers and big rig semi-trucks given their size and the difficulty other vehicles may have when attempting to avoid a collision.
“Unless it’s truly an emergency, no big rig should ever be found in the freeway gore point,” Dordulian Law Group’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, said.
“I’ve seen far too many cases involving serious injuries and even tragic fatalities where fault is placed on the big rig for stopping at gore points,” car accident lawyer Dordulian added.
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