State police responded to a serious accident they believed involved some 10 to 15 cars on Highway 5 the afternoon of March 3. California Highway Patrol reported the motor vehicle accident necessitated the closure of the highway going both ways. It was also reported that MediFlight helicopters were used to transport injured parties, who are still in the process of being identified. No fatalities were reported in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
It is unclear what caused the accident, which took place just after 2 p.m. However, police noted that hail had been reported in the area, which may have played a role in the pileup. Apparently, several vehicles collided in both the northbound and southbound lanes, causing massive damage and injuries going both ways on the highway.
Major injuries were reported in the southbound lanes, with several people taken to local hospitals. At least one person was pinned in his vehicle and was seriously hurt. He was airlifted to a local hospital by a MediFlight helicopter that landed directly on the freeway to facilitate his care. The police investigation continued for several hours while emergency crews cleaned up the freeway. Police have not charged any of the drivers involved at this time.
A motor vehicle accident of this magnitude will take some time to investigate, simply given the number of cars involved in the crash. It is still possible for California authorities to make a determination as to whether one or more drivers could be considered at fault for the accident. Even if they choose not to file criminal charges against these drivers, injured parties are entitled under state law to file personal injury lawsuits against anyone whose negligence is deemed to have caused or materially contributed to the crash and injuries that resulted.
Source: modbee.com, “Multi-vehicle accident on I-5 after hail snarls traffic near Westley“, Marijke Rowland, March 3, 2018