A big rig driver suffered what authorities described as a "coughing attack" at the wheel before crashing off a Southern California freeway and slamming into a pickup in a fatal collision that involved several other vehicles.
The northern San Fernando Valley crash, which left four people hospitalized in critical condition, occurred under the 210 Freeway-118 Freeway interchange near the Paxton Street exit.
The big rig crashed off the 210 Freeway freeway and down an embankment before crossing an exit ramp and slamming into the pickup, killing its driver. The pickup, pushed onto its side in the crash, and a dump truck were stopped at an intersection before the crash.
"He had a coughing attack and lost control of his vehicle, causing it to veer to the right onto the shoulder and down the embankment," said CHP Officer Ming Hsu of the big rig driver.
The deceased victim was identified only as a man in his 30s.
A sport utility vehicle and another passenger vehicle also were involved in the series of collisions. Fire-rescue personnel extricated at least one person trapped in a vehicle.
Paxton Street exit ramps were still closed at midday for the investigation.