Although 17 people were injured, two critically, California Highway Patrol officers are saying the pile-up in Northern Los Angeles County last week could have been much worse. A total of 19 cars and a big-rig tractor-trailer were involved in a massive car accident in Agua Dolce on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway. With 17 people sent to the local hospital for treatment, officers responding to the scene said many of the victims were extremely lucky to not have suffered more serious injuries. However, oftentimes injuries suffered in a car accident can present themselves much later, so the full extent of the injuries still remains to be seen.

No details were provided on the condition of the two victims initially listed in critical condition. According to witness reports, the pile-up started when a large, metal table that appeared to be from a restaurant fell from the bed of a pickup truck in the southbound lanes near Escondido Canyon Road. Apparently it had not been properly secured prior to travel. As vehicles swerved to miss the table some either hit it or were hit by others starting the chain-reaction crash.

Investigators are saying the truck driver did not stop and there was no description of the pickup provided by witnesses. Authorities don't know if the driver even realized he had lost his or her cargo. Thankfully no one was killed in the multi-vehicle crash, which are apparently not all that unusual in that stretch of the Freeway. Usually they happen during rainy, snow or foggy conditions so this particular crash is rather rare for the dry and clear conditions at the time of the crash, said one officer.

Once authorities identify the driver of the vehicle that appears to have caused the 20-vehicle crash, victims who suffered injuries or damages may wish to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver for possible negligence. It is up to drivers to maintain safety at all times on the roadways and by not properly securing down cargo the pickup was hauling, the pickup truck driver could be held liable for damages caused by the table falling out of his truck.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News, "17 hurt in 18-car, big-rig pileup on Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Agua Dulce," Eric Hartley, June 26, 2012