By RYAN GORMAN
A 5-year-old girl was killed and more than a dozen others were injured – five critically - in a massive pileup Thursday morning just outside Los Angeles.
The early morning chain-reaction accident involved a milk tanker, two big rigs and eight other vehicles, according to the California Highway Patrol. It happened just after 5:30 a.m. near the town of South El Monte.
The unidentified child survived the initial crash but passed away at a nearby hospital, police said.
A milk tanker started the series of collisions when it failed to slow down for traffic ahead of it, jackknifed, jumped the center divider and over turned, police told KCBS.
Milk poured onto the highway as the overturned truck blocked both the east and westbound lanes of traffic.
Two cars slammed into the tanker and all three vehicles burst into flames.
An additional two tractor-trailers and six other vehicles were also involved in the accident, but only the five-year-old girl died.
It is not yet clear which vehicle she was in when the incident occurred.
Five people were taken to local hospitals in critical condition and nine others were treated at the scene for minor injuries including bumps, bruises and scratches.
The debris field stretched the length of two football fields, according to KCBS. So much milk spilled that it found its way into the nearby San Gabriel River, KNBC reported.
All lanes of the highway were closed in both directions well into the afternoon, leaving the morning rush at a standstill.
Thursday's incident occurred on the same stretch of road as a horrific wrong-way accident in February that killed six people when a reportedly drunk 21-year-old woman slammed into an SUV. She was the only survivor.
The highway was reopened as of about 12:30 p.m., officials said.
Previously on AOL.com