LOS GATOS (CBS SF) — CHP on Thursday afternoon confirmed one person died on Highway 17 after two major injury crashes, including one caused by a tree that fell onto at least one vehicle.
The two incidents snarled traffic for hours on the often congested highway, at one point closing lanes in both directions.
As of shortly after 4 p.m., CHP said the combination of an accident and a downed tree in the northbound lanes of the highway south of Summit Road had left all lanes blocked.
Chopper 5 video showed CHP investigating an earlier crash on northbound Highway 17 with a single overturned car before coming across the second incident involving multiple vehicles and a downed tree.
CHP Santa Cruz said about an hour after a rollover accident that seriously injured the driver, a tree came down on the southbound side of Highway 17 and struck a car traveling northbound.
The driver of that car was knocked unconscious and hit several other cars. Video appeared to show that the accident involved at least four or five other cars. The driver of the vehicle struck by the tree was taken to the hospital with major injuries.
CHP later confirmed that the driver of the vehicle struck by the tree died.
As of shortly before 5:30 p.m., the left southbound lane of the highway had reopened to traffic. Northbound traffic was still being diverted as of shortly before 6 p.m. as CHP investigated the fatal collision.
Authorities were able to reopen all northbound lanes of Highway 17 at about 7 p.m.
Traffic was diverted off to Summit Road during the extended closure. Motorists traveling on Highway 17 are advised to expect residual delays.