The man killed by a wrong-way suspected drunken driver on the 134 Freeway in Eagle Rock was identified Monday as a 16-year custodian at Van Nuys High School.
Keith Salvador Orellana, 53, was standing with a 20-year-old man near the freeway’s Figueroa Street undercrossing when they were struck at 12:02 a.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.Orellana died at the scene, said coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral.
The 20-year-old man, whose name was not released, was rushed by paramedics to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena with major injuries.
“Orellana was a wonderful man and a beloved member of our staff for the last 16 years,” Van Nuys High School Principal Yolanda Gardea said.A counselor will be on campus Tuesday to meet with the custodial staff, Gardea said.
Orellana and the 20-year-old were both from San Fernando.A witness told City News Service Orellana’s body was discovered after the crash, below a pair of bridges that carry the Ventura Freeway across a hillside, indicating that he either jumped or was shoved over the railing by the crash and down to the surface.
The fatal chain of events began with 911 callers reporting the wrong-way vehicle on the long stretch from Glendale towards Pasadena just before midnight. CHP officers later determined that car, a 2002 Nissan, was driven by a 60-year-old man from Duarte, who later was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.
At 12:01 a.m., the wrong-way car crashed head-on onto a second vehicle near the Figueroa Street undercrossing.
CHP reports were not clear why the two San Fernando men were on the freeway lanes, or if they were victims of the initial crash. But they were in a bad place a few moments later when another 2002 Nissan, heading west in the carpool lane, smashed into the wreckage and the two men.
The suspected drunken driver suffered minor injuries. The 69-year-old woman driving the third vehicle was treated for minor injuries at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and CHP officers have not cited her.