The driver of a truck that was transporting an industrial crane on the 405 Freeway was killed after the vehicle struck a center divider near Westchester and burst into flames Tuesday, October 30th.

The driver, who had not been identified at Argonaut press time, was traveling northbound on the freeway at approximately 5 a.m. near La Tijera Boulevard, a few miles from Los Angeles International Airport, according to Officer Blase Austin of the West Los Angeles office of the California Highway Patrol.

“According to witnesses, the operator of the truck, which was carrying an industrial crane with a boom and dolly that weighed approximately 80,000 pounds, began to fish-tail,” said Austin. “The boom and the dolly then swung into the southbound lane when the driver tried to correct [the fish-tail movement].”

A fire broke out in the ensuing crash when the rig struck the center divider. Firefighters from the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to the scene, where the driver and his rig came to rest near a freeway overpass.

No one else was injured in the accident.

“No other vehicles were involved in the crash,” said Austin.

The accident caused early-morning rush hour delays of several hours and extended commutes for motorists on both sides of one of the region’s busiest freeways. CHP officials said that HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes both north- and southbound were closed during the investigation.

The closed traffic lanes were not reopened until late afternoon.

The driver worked for Brewer Crane and Rigging, Inc., based in Lakeside.

“We’re in the midst of our investigation, so we won’t have anything to say until we’ve completed our investigation of the accident,” said Robert Able, a Brewer Crane and Rigging spokesman.

The company has worked on several construction projects in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.

The California Highway Patrol is in the process of its own investigation of the fatal crash, said Austin.

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