Crime - Sacto 911

Coroner identifies driver who died in fiery I-5 crash in Elk Grove

A Caltrans traffic camera of southbound Interstate 5 captured this image at 3:49 p.m. Wednesday after a fatal accident.
A Caltrans traffic camera of southbound Interstate 5 captured this image at 3:49 p.m. Wednesday after a fatal accident. Caltrans

A man who died in a fiery crash on southbound Interstate 5 in Elk Grove on Wednesday has been identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office as 81-year-old Howard L. Friesen.

The coroner’s website did not list a city of residence for Friesen.

The single-vehicle crash was reported about 2:08 p.m.

Friesen was driving a 2013 Toyota Camry southbound on I-5 approaching Laguna Boulevard when he made a sudden turning movement that caused him to lose control of the car, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.

The car struck the guardrail on the west side of the road. The impact caused the vehicle to catch fire as it continued southbound on the west shoulder until it struck a highway sign.

Roy Luton, a truck driver, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he was the first to reach the vehicle after the crash. He said he raced to the car with his fire extinguisher and tried to douse the flames as he and two other people attempted to extricate Friesen.

Luton said he stopped other truckers on I-5, who provided their fire extinguishers. He and others worked for two to three minutes before the fire became too hot, forcing them to retreat, he said.

“I just want the driver’s family to know that we did everything we could,” Luton said.

The CHP said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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