Originally posted at 7:32 a.m. May 1, 2014. Edited with new details.
Two Camp Pendleton Marines were credited today with helping prevent injuries in a multiple-vehicle crash on the southbound San Diego (5) Freeway that tied up southbound traffic before dawn.
Three separate crashes just south of Ortega (74) Highway led authorities to close nearly all southbound lanes about 4:50 a.m., leading to a significant traffic jam.
The two Marines, en route to a shooting range in separate cars, stopped to alert drivers of about the collisions ahead by putting out glow sticks and waving, California Highway Patrol Officer Tom McCulloch said.
"They were throwing (the glow sticks) out in the lanes to slow people down, because there's no lights out there," McCulloch said. "If that had not taken place most likely it would have been a worse call .... That was a great job what they did."
The first collision happened when a big-rig truck made an unsafe lane change and collided with a white Nissan Versa, McCulloch said.
After "spinning a little bit," the car came to a stop, but the truck driver kept going, he said.
The driver of a white cargo van tried to avoid the disabled Nissan but clipped its left rear, he said.
About that time, one of the Marines arrived and began warning motorists about the hazard.
A Toyota Camry, however, collided with the Nissan, leaving both vehicles in the road, McCulloch said.
No injuries were reported, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said. One the driver was "shook up," but otherwise was OK, he said.
--City News Service