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Alcohol, speed were factors in fatal crash

April 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 17-year-old driver was killed and three other teens were injured, one critically, in a solo-vehicle rollover crash on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.Authorities waited for daylight before closely examining evidence at the crash site. The westbound side of PCH at Broad Beach Road was shut down all morning after Tuesday night's fatal rollover involving five teenagers.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Rob Hayes' report from the Newbury Park High School.

Deputies say four of the five teens in the car are students at Newbury Park High School, including the 17-year-old driver Cody Murphy, who was killed in the crash.

Murphy was a popular football player at Newbury Park High.

The CHP says the teenager, driving a Subaru Impreza, was speeding down PCH when he lost control of the vehicle, flipping it several times. The vehicle landed on its roof, killing Murphy and critically injuring a 17-year-old female passenger who was not wearing a seat belt.

Domonique Cruz says she was suppose to go to the concert with the five kids, but decided to stay home at the last minute. She found out about the wreck Tuesday night. She says the shock of what happened has left the entire student body stunned.

"Our whole school is effected and everyone is so sad. It effects everyone around you and people do not realize it," said Domonique Cruz, student.

"Teenagers all have a tendency as part of their development to think that they are infallible. This shock today has helped them realize that none of us are infallible," said Athol Wong, principal.

Deputies say the surviving passengers admitted they'd all been drinking Tuesday night, right up until the time they sped down PCH.

"Apparently these five teenagers were at a concert in Hollywood last night, had a few drinks there, and then went on to the Santa Monica Pier, where again they consumed more alcohol," said Sgt. Brooks.

The LA County Sheriff's Department says that an empty bottle of liquor was found in the car along with an empty bottle of medical marijuana.

Three passengers were injured in the crash. The 17-year-old girl was taken to UCLA Medical Center in critical condition with a head injury, and two boys were also taken to UCLA Medical Center for treatment of hip injuries. Another passenger was treated at the scene and released.

News of the fatality spread quickly at Newbury Park High School. Thad Wolff got a text message from his 17-year-old daughter, who's a student at Newbury Park, about what happened.

"It sounds like maybe alcohol was involved and, you know, so again a lesson learned to other children at school that hopefully they won't fall in that same sort of situation," said Wolff.

Deputies say it's just another tragic reminder of how deadly drinking and driving can be.

"We pound it into these kids all the time and so here we go, we're going to have four seniors that are graduating and one that never will," said Sgt. Brooks.

Eyewitness News reporters Rob Hayes and Lisa Hernandez contributed to this report.

 

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