LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - A member of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department search and rescue team was killed Sunday when a driver on the 5 Freeway near the Los Angeles/Kern County line lost control of his car moments after another accident and crashed into the scene, also seriously injuring two other team members, authorities said.
The victim was identified as 50-year-old Jeff Dye of Thousand Oaks.
He died a hero. A volunteer Ventura County rescue worker from Thousand Oaks was killed during a tragic accident on Interstate 5. Dye was among a group of rescuers who stopped to help another crash victim during the slick and rainy conditions. the crash also left two other rescue workers in critical condition.
'All members of that team are here and they are standing by and making sure their fallen brother is handled properly and that’s what we’re out here doing right now.' said LA County Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda.
The team was headed to a planned training mission at Mount Pinos just before 8 am when they came across a single rollover accident on Interstate 5 near Pyramid Lake.
Officials say, a red Nissan had flipped and the rescuers pulled over to help. that’s when tragedy struck.
“They were working to render aid to the motorist that had rolled their car over here when a vehicle traveling NB on the 5 Freeway went out of control and crashed into the accident scene. “ Imbrenda said.
At that moment, officials say Dye a longtime volunteer of the Fillmore search and rescue team was killed when a green Ford Expedition plowed into the group of rescuers.
The crash occurred about 8:06 a.m. on the northbound freeway near the Vista Del Lago exit at Pyramid Lake, the California Highway Patrol reported.
First responders from Ventura County were assisting people from an earlier rollover crash when the second, fatal crash occurred, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department public information officer. Dye was pronounced dead at the scene, and at least nine people were taken to area hospitals.
Three of the SAR teams members at the crash suffered serious injuries, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.
The accidents occurred amid heavy rainfall that made driving conditions dangerous throughout the Southland.
"Tragedy today - a member of our Fillmore SAR Team was killed and three other team members injured in a traffic collision on I-5," the Ventura County Sheriff's Department tweeted. "They were on their way to Mt. Pinos for a training mission."
CNS contributed to this story.