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RAINY DAY DRAMA CRASH LEAVES BIG DUMP TRUCK DANGLING OVER METROLINK TRACKS.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - Heavy rain caused havoc on local roads Monday where one man died in a collision and several vehicles tangled on Interstate 5 in a dramatic crash that temporarily halted Metrolink train service on the tracks below.

The first big storm of the season brought thunder, lightning and 1.6 inches of rain to the Santa Clarita Valley where a flood watch remains in effect through this afternoon.

Late Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to the flood-prone Polynesian Mobile Home Park in Newhall, where the main driveway, which crosses a creek, was flooded and impassable. Several mobile homes were destroyed during torrential rains in January that forced evacuations. The park management had not completed repairs of the driveway off San Fernando Road.

Earlier Monday, Juan Alvarado, 45, of Santa Paula died in a three-car collision on westbound state Route 126 at Castaic Creek.

At about 7:20 a.m., Maria Bejar, 45, of Piru was heading east at 55 mph to 60 mph when she lost control of her Ford Expedition and spun into the westbound lanes. The rear of her sport utility vehicle hit Alvarado's Ford Ranger pickup, then hit a second pickup truck, authorities said.

Alvarado, who apparently was not wearing a seat belt, suffered a massive head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene, Highway Patrol Officer Wendy Hahn said. The other drivers were not injured.

While traffic crashes clogged the roads, commuters on Metrolink's Antelope Valley line also were delayed in Santa Clarita, spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said. About 6 a.m. an engine failed on the line, which runs from Lancaster through Santa Clarita to Los Angeles.

Then shortly after 9 a.m. a large dump traveling along the I-5/Antelope Valley Freeway interchange hit several cars and was hanging over the side of the freeway, the train tracks about 100 feet below. Debris fell onto the tracks, prompting Metrolink to halt trains, Tyrrell said.

``And right after we closed the tracks for the accident, we received a call about a suspicious package at the Sylmar station, which gave us another reason to keep the tracks closed,'' she said.

Problems were cleared by 11:35 a.m.

The dump truck accident occurred when driver Gabriel Alcantar, 51, of North Hills failed to slow for traffic, Hahn said. He hit several stopped vehicles and broke through the guardrail.

A 5-year-old boy was treated for a minor injury at the scene and a 45-year-old Acton woman was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries.

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

5 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2 -- color) Traffic came to a halt Monday on the connector lanes of the Antelope Valley Freeway and the Golden State Freeway in Sylmar, above left, as a 10-wheeler dump truck hit several cars came to a rest at the edge of the freeway, dangling 100 feet over Metrolink tracks, above, officials said.

(3 -- 4 -- color -- ran in SAC edition only) Southbound traffic on the Antelope Valley Freeway near Golden Valley Road comes to a halt, above, as rain and crashes caused a commuting nightmare for Santa Clarita residents. Above right, A CHP officer investigates the scene of a fatal crash along state Route 126.

(5 -- color -- ran in AV edition only) A Metrolink train, above, comes to a stop at the Via Princessa station because of the danger associated with the crash.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 18, 2005
Words:584
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