Updated, 3:20 p.m. Sunday, details from fire department.
The hydroplaning of cars in a downpour Sunday morning resulted in a series of four collisions on eastbound Highway 24 in Orinda, sending five people to the hospital.
Several of those injured were pedestrians who had emerged from their vehicles on the side of the highway several hundred feet east of Wilder Road on the highway. The injuries were moderate to serious, said CHP Sgt. Scott Siria.
The victims included three firefighters from the Moraga-Orinda Fire District.
After a couple of earlier accidents at 9 a.m. Sunday, a MOFD truck was parked in a righthand lane of eastbound Highway 24, protecting the damaged cars in the road further ahead. A car on the highway lost control, striking the fire engine. That was a non-injury accident, Fire Chief Randy Bradley reported in a MOFD news release.
While firefighters were on the shoulder interviewing the driver of the car from that accident, an SUV clipped the fire truck, causing the SUV to flip on its roof and skid into the three firefighters and the driver of the earlier collision. The driver from the earlier collision had critical injuries, Bradley said.
The firefighters were in serious but stable condition Sunday afternoon with non-life-threatening injuries, Bradley said. Two firefighters will require surgery.
The injured firefighters were:
- Capt. Michael Rattary, a seven-year veteran.
- Kelly Morris, a nine-year veteran firefighter-paramedic.
- Stephen Rogness, a four-year veteran firefighter.
ABC7 News has still photos of the injured firefighters.
The first accident in the series was an Acura in the fast lane striking the concrete barrier between eastbound and westbound, and careening toward the right shoulder and striking a Toyota, Siria said. The driver of the Acura was transported to the hospital.
Siria said it was apparent that several vehicles were going too fast for the rain slick conditions in the series of accidents. The investigation continues.
The five victims were taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
Only one lane of eastbound Highway 24 was open for two hours, backing up traffic to the tunnel. The accident scene was cleaned up about 11 a.m. and all lanes were re-opened.
The first collision occurred around 9 a.m. Sunday..