Crane topples on busy Los Angeles freeway, causing collision and trapping operator

Friday, February 2nd 2007, 5:19 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A construction site crane toppled onto a major freeway Friday, trapping its operator and triggering a collision between a big-rig dirt hauler and an SUV when they tried to avoid the crane boom.

Firefighters pulled the operator out of the crane cab, where he was trapped for more than an hour, said Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Humphrey said the operator, a 44-year-old man, suffered rib fractures and severe injuries to his left hand but was conscious and alert. A fire helicopter landed on the freeway to fly the victim to a hospital.

The early afternoon accident shut down the northbound side of Interstate 405 near U.S. 101 in Sherman Oaks, one of the busiest interchanges in the nation. Thousands of motorists were stuck for at least three hours in the massive traffic jam.

The truck and SUV struck the freeway's center divider before hitting the crane boom, said California Highway Patrol Officer Leland Tang. The drivers of those vehicles had minor injuries, Humphrey said.