Crash shears off fire hydrant at Figueroa and York [updated @ 1:49pm]

Photo by John Imig

Photo by John Imig

HIGHLAND PARK — An SUV knocked over a traffic signal and sheared off a fire hydrant at the corner of Figueroa Street and York Boulevard this morning, sending a gusher of water into the air and littering the intersection with debris.

The one-vehicle accident took place at about 8 a.m., according to the L.A. Fire Department.  Two persons were being assessed for possible medical treatment. Photos from the scene showed a damaged SUV near the gusher of water.

“Traffic will be impacted for undetermined time,” the LAFD said in a tweet. Police recommend that motorists avoid the area.

One person who lives at the intersection said the SUV swerved into oncoming lanes, took out the stoplight pole and then fishtailed across Figueroa before and taking out the fire hydrant.

The intersection has been identified as among the most accident-prone in the area.  So far this year, at least nine traffic collisions have taken place at the intersection through July 4, according to the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division.  It ranks among the division’s five “Greatest Risk Intersections.”

Updated @ 1:49 pm:  The male driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI, said Sgt. Rares Isai with the LAPD Central Traffic Division. No further details were available.

Updated @ 11:15 am: A DUI investigation is now underway, according to a posting on the LAPD Northeast Division’s Facebook page. The driver was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Photo by John Imig

Photo by John Imig

Photo by John Imim

Photo by John Imig

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  1. That intersection is soooooo dangerous.

  2. Intersections would be less dangerous if people would act less like idiots behind the wheel.

    • Perhaps… but these “accidents” happen way too often to keep placing the blame on the individuals, and expect different outcomes.

      LA’s traffic engineers and planners design our streets primarily for speeding cars (instead of say… public safety, or efficient movement of people, or economic growth.) It’s no big surprise when daily carnage ensues. I’m actually surprised car crashes don’t happen even more often.

  3. the fancy rims and dark tinted windows are the hallmarks of a careful and responsible driver

  4. This intersection is being featured in GTA HLP. Thank god that driver had an SUV for maximum damage potential.

  5. Take a nice, long look at that first photo above by John Imig. The twisted poles — and the traffic signals and signs they supported — brought down into the Figueroa and York intersection and resting at unnatural angles amid debris and passing cars, while in the background firemen frantically try to plug a gusher of water in the middle of the worst California drought in recorded history. This photo perfectly encapsulates Councilman Gil Cedillo’s vision of safe streets in Los Angeles.

    Some people will probably claim that, once again, this incident is just another outlier that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Councilman Cedillo killed LADOT’s plan for traffic calming on North Figueroa. Because street design has no influence on how people drive, and we are powerless to do anything about speeders, drunks, and reckless drivers, right?

    In the year since Cedillo killed the LADOT plan, we’ve got at least one pedestrian and one bicyclist killed by automobiles on North Figueroa. And now this. Unless Cedillo miraculously sees the light and allows the plan to be implemented, and if he’s not yet driven from office in disgrace over the next death-by-auto on Figueroa, then whoever runs against him in the next election should feature the above photo prominently in their campaign.

    • This is definitely a fail for safe streets or GREAT streets that were paid for and supported by Mayor Garcetti but not delivered by CM Cedillo,We NEED traffic calming TODAY not several deaths later. What is the CM waiting for? We have a vision bought and paid for but not implemented. What is his plan?

  6. This could have been a lot worse. Think about if there was pedestrians waiting to cross on the north east corner of the intersection where he hit the light pole and also on the northwest corner where he hit the fire hydrant! How about the pole which could have fallen on a car! And of course, this is investigated as a possible DUI, at 8 in the morning!

    • Part of the reason this intersection is so dangerous is because the westbound York Blvd lane reduction (two to one lane) takes place right there. Drivers often wait until the last minute to switch out of the right turn only lane and end up driving through the bike lane and then interfering with drivers continuing westbound. There needs to be a better reminder to drivers in that right turn only lane. Either rumble strips, raised lane dividers or overhead lane signage would help.

  7. Yes, this is a dangerous intersection. No question. But this crash involved one vehicle. The driver was either drunk or experienced some sudden physical impairment. It doesn’t help the push for safer streets if we lump every situation into “Cedillo’s mess”.

    • Now that we know this was a likely DUI, I’m holding my breath to also see if LAPD reports the driver was uninsured and/or an unlicensed driver or illegal immigrant.

  8. Great work web detectives! Just one more thing…

  9. If this is proven to be a DUI, I’m not letting the driver off the hook. But he’ll just get a slap on the wrist, as is the usual case with DUIs and a subsequent bankruptcy will likely wash his hands of financial burden.
    In all the yrs I have driven through this intersection, I watch as people try to make the light and gun it. While others waiting to turn left get impatient and cut in front of pedestrians and/or on-coming traffic.

    When do people become accountable for their actions?

  10. The Driver of the SUV was indeed driving under the influence -I heard the fireman speak to the driver in the ambulance. I live above the bank and woke up to the loud bangs from the destruction and ran downstairs. What you are missing here is that this was a TWO vehicle accident. The SUV hit a taxi which had a elderly female rider in the back seat. After being hit they pulled up closer to Branch St on York. For someone who lives on this intersection, yes it is extremely dangerous. Thankfully no one was in critical condition.

  11. That intersection needs a protected turn arrow … ridiculous that such a busy intersection still relies on the antiquated “nudge (into the intersection) and run (the light)” system that is so prevalent in L.A. and that former mayor Villaraigosa promised to fix (one of his many broken campaign promises). I realize that this is prolly not why the driver crashed, but every time I go through that intersection, I damn Villaraigosa for not fulfilling that promise (of a left turn arrow at every intersection in L.A.).

  12. I heard a long, ten second skid at 7:45 and expected to hear a crash but I didn’t. I got up and walked to Outlook and York and saw long curly cue skid marks. About once a year someone heading east on York hits the curve at Branch St going too fast and skids into parked cars. I surprised that the driver made it to Figueroa before crashing. Was he out of control for 2 blocks? Was he trying to turn left onto Fig? York and Figueroa may be dangerous but so are the intoxicated drivers who can’t control their autos.

    • This is about a DRUNK DRIVER. Another one killed someone a few weeks ago in Highland Park. This driver skid around fo r blocks before he got to the intersection of York and Figueroa. It’s a miracle no one was slaughtered by this DRUNK DRIVER. Cedillo had nothing to do with it. It was a DRUNK DRIVER! Maybe we should be discussing DRUNK DRIVERS causing death and destruction on our streets. No one is safe… bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers are at risk. A car going 80 miles an hour could kill you in your home or business in certain circumstances. Politicians and partitioned bike lanes will not protect you from DRUNK DRIVERS. Did I mention… DRUNK DRIVERs?

      • Well since drunk driving will continue to happen in this city, maybe we should expect it and design our streets so they are safer and more forgiving of human error? I mean isn’t that a big part of an engineer’s job? To anticipate common problems and design around them? We do that on freeways, with shoulders and rumble strips — we can do the same on city streets by starting out with a more rational design speed for the complexities of urban life (i.e. 20mph average top speeds instead of 40mph and above, as is common on North Fig.)

  13. Thanks for reporting this. Can the Eastsider LA please adhere to the latest AP Stylebook and drop the use of word “Accident?” The headline gets it right, why not the body of the story? CHP and LAPD reported this as a collision / crash, the Eastsider L.A. should consider doing the same. The word “Accident” implies something that was unavoidable and acceptable. York and Figueroa is ranked by LA Times as the 35th Most Dangerous Intersection in Los Angeles County is something that is preventable and entirely unacceptable.

    • This DRUNK DRIVER was out of control for blocks before he arrived at York & Figueroa. DRUNK DRIVERS are preventable.

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