(FOX 11 / CNS) Vehicle crashes today on the northbound and southbound San Diego (405) Freeway - one of them fatal - temporarily shut down some lanes in both directions and turned the normally tough morning commute through the Sepulveda Pass into a nightmare for motorists trying to get to work or head out of town for the holidays.
Both occurred almost directly opposite each other near the Valley Vista exit leading to Ventura Boulevard. The first crash, which resulted in a car fire, took place on the southbound 405 Freeway around 6:20 a.m., and shut down the carpool and numbers 1 and 2 lanes, California Highway Patrol Officer Christopher Cracraft said.
The second crash in the northbound lanes happened about 15 minutes later, fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. It resulted in one fatality and two other people taken to hospitals in serious condition, he said. Cracraft said the second crash, which also shut down three lanes, involved four vehicles.
"The fatality was a 64-year-old man,'' Cracraft said. His name was withheld pending notification of kin. The injured parties in the fatal crash were a man and woman who were taken to Northridge Hospital, authorities said.
The fatal collision temporarily shut down all northbound traffic, but CHP officers then reopened the two far right lanes to help with traffic flow, Cracraft said. Both resulted in SigAlerts being declared by the CHP, Cracraft said.
The southbound lanes reopened at 8:30 a.m. The northbound lanes were finally cleared at 11:30 a.m. and the remaining SigAlert was cancelled, Cracraft said.
Both crashes remain under investigation by the CHP.