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Driver involved in gas-tanker freeway fire identified

April 08, 2012

The driver of a vehicle that rear-ended a gas tanker causing a massive fire that closed the 134 (Ventura) Freeway late Saturday has been identified as 25-year-old Hakop Maghakyan of Glendale, according to the CHP.

Maghakyan was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated following the accident, the CHP said.

The fire erupted shortly after 11 p.m. when the tanker's rear trailer was struck from behind by a Honda traveling at a high rate of speed, CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said. The car was heading west, east of the 5 Freeway.

The tanker struck a guardrail and overturned, bursting into flames along the shoulder underneath the 134 connector to southbound 5, the CHP said. The car was also engulfed in flames.

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Both drivers, and a passenger in the Honda, scrambled to safety and were not injured.

The blaze shut down the freeway overnight. Eastbound lanes were open Sunday morning. Westbound lanes of the 134 Freeway are expected to be reopened at 6 p.m., according to the CHP. Earlier, the agency had said 3 p.m.

-- Sam Quinones and Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times

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