Driver in fatal big rig crash on 5 freeway identified

A driver is pronounced dead on arrival after a loaded ACE Hardware truck fell down an embankment off Interstate 5 Monday afternoon. January 04, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The Los Angeles County Coroner-Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the driver of a loaded Ace Hardware truck who died after the big rig fell down an embankment off Interstate 5 on Monday. 

The man was identified as 57-year-old Richard Peter Heeschen, according to Sarah Ardalani, the public information officer for the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. His city of residence is unknown, she added. 

Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel responded to the reported crash at around 12:41 p.m. on the northbound 5 freeway north of Templin Highway, according to Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Matheny. 

A California Highway Patrol officer who also responded to the scene had run down a steep 70-foot dirt embankment and pulled the driver out of the truck in an attempt to save his life, according to CHP Officer Josh Greengard. The officer was airlifted to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as a precautionary measure, and he’s believed to be in good health. 

The crash had resulted in hourslong SigAlert that temporarily blocked two lanes of the 5 freeway. 

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