LOS GATOS -- One person was killed and seven others were injured when a big rig collided with 10 vehicles Thursday morning on northbound Highway 17 near Lexington Reservoir, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The crash, which happened about 7:50 a.m., closed a majority of the highway for nearly 10 hours, putting travel at a snail's pace as crews worked to clear the scene.
The man who was killed was in the fifth car in a line of vehicles and was ejected from his vehicle after it was struck by the big rig, according to CHP Officer Ross Lee. The driver, who has not been identified, and his vehicle were then dragged by the big rig.
Seven other people suffered a range of injuries, Lee added. One woman was listed in critical condition at an area hospital after she suffered a laceration to her liver, but she was expected to survive. Six others were taken to nearby hospitals with minor to moderate injuries.
The big rig was traveling just south of Bear Creek Road when the crash occurred, according to the CHP.
Steve Salika, an engineer at a Cupertino company, was making his daily commute from Santa Cruz and witnessed the collision. He said traffic slowed down and was almost at a standstill near Lexington when the big rig "piled into all those vehicles."
"It rolled over everything in its path," said Salika, who was riding a motorcycle to work. "I was on top of the grade watching it occur. It is so bizarre when you see something like this."
Every weekday, about 54,000 vehicles travel on Highway 17 between Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County.
Both northbound and southbound lanes were reopened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Caltrans worked with the CHP to split the lanes on the southbound side of the highway, creating one lane for northbound traffic and one lane for southbound.
Lee said the driver of the big rig, who has not been identified, has not been arrested or cited and that he was not intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Lee said investigators do not yet know what caused the collision.