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5 killed in fiery chain-reaction crash

May 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators are working to confirm the identities of five people, including three children, who were killed in a fiery, chain-reaction crash in south Los Angeles.Police say a speeding SUV is to blame for the six-vehicle wreck that happened at about 6 p.m. Monday on Crenshaw Boulevard near Florence Avenue.

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People who knew the victims gathered Tuesday at the intersection of Crenshaw and Florence, which reopened around 5 a.m. Tuesday after a massive clean-up and investigation.

Investigators say the driver of a Chevy Blazer ran a red light and collided with a Honda minivan carrying a family of eight.

Witnesses say one of the youngest victims, a 12-year-old boy, was ejected from a Honda minivan after it collided with the Chevy Blazer that ran a red light at Florence Ave. and Crenshaw Blvd. The collision led to a multi-car crash that would involve six vehicles.

"It hit it so fast, then that baby just flew out the window. He flew, we seen him, the oldest child, he flew. Me and my mother was just like 'look at this baby,'" said Vaneda Ward, a witness at the scene.

"It sounded like a train that hit a car, the way it sounded when it first hit," said vendor Keith Jackson.

Jackson, who works nearby, says the Chevy Blazer that ran the red light went airborne upon impact. The vehicle then burst into flames before it even hit the ground.

Flames quickly spread to the minivan. Jackson says he ran to help the family inside the burning van.

"It was on fire and it was burning so bad that it had burned my other jacket up. The officers that help me get the people out and the girls that died, there was nothing I could do for them. But I was trying my best," said Jackson.

The 12-year-old boy ejected from the Honda minivan died at the scene. His two siblings, ages 7 and 4, were also killed in the crash. The children's parents were hospitalized, but will survive.

The initial collision resulted in a chain-reaction, multi-vehicle crash that hospitalized a total of 16 people. Several of those 16 people remain in critical condition.

The Chevy driver at fault and his passenger are among the five deceased. The LAPD is still working to confirm their identities, as their bodies were burned beyond recognition.

To make a donation to the family of Ignacio Luna, the father who lost four of his five children in the crash:

Bank of America
9001 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Please make checks payable to Ignacio Luna:
Account # 21625-66318

 

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