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Chain-reaction accident causes injuries and a death

The family's SUV hung from the side of an interstate highway last week as construction workers scrambled to hold the vehicle in place until rescuers arrived, La Crosse's WXOW-TV reports.

Although emergency crews were able to get the people out of the dangling vehicle, a 66-year-old backseat passenger in the SUV later died of injuries sustained in a chain-reaction car accident police said was caused by a hit-and-run driver.

Law enforcement officials said the woman died of blunt force trauma injuries to her head.

The accident occurred as a family was driving to Disneyland near Los Angeles. A 43-year-old man was at the wheel of the Toyota SUV when it was struck from behind by a Nissan Altima swerving to avoid a vehicle making an illegal lane change.

The collision sent the Toyota Rav4 skidding wildly, before it overturned, flipping several times before it came to a stop with part of its mangled chassis hanging over an overpass. Thirty feet below, a road construction crew was busy working on a project.

Quick-thinking workers positioned a large forklift onto the bridge and used it to help hold the mangled SUV in place until emergency personnel could arrive and extricate the driver and passengers.

The Nissan that struck the Toyota also ran into a pick-up truck, sending that vehicle into a guardrail.

The driver of the Toyota Rav4 suffered broken ribs, bruises and cuts. Two other passengers, both in the backseat, were treated at a nearby hospital for lacerations.

The other motorists in the collisions were reportedly unhurt.

The driver of the gray or beige Honda that started the chain reaction of crashes did not stop. Police are searching for that person.

Source: WXOW, "1 person dies after SUV dangles from freeway," April 25, 2012

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