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1 killed when car hits pole, bursts into flames on PCH

August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A car slammed into a pole and burst into flames Wednesday on the 16300 block of Pacific Coast Highway north of Temescal Canyon.

Seven people were in the Ford Focus. A 35-year-old man has died. It was previously reported that the deceased victim was 13 years old.

Five people survived, including two children. Officials said a 15-year-old girl was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

The crash happened just after midnight. A private ambulance was driving by and those employees helped free some of the victims from the burning car.

It's not clear if alcohol was involved, but authorities said the driver may have been speeding.

The car clearly was overloaded, according to investigators. The Ford is designed to carry only five people.

"There were too many people for this vehicle and nobody appeared to be wearing their seatbelts at the time," said Zachary Hutchings of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The impact of the crash woke up nearby residents.

"There was a tremendous bang. I wasn't sure whether it was a collision or an explosion," said one resident.

Authorities shut down Pacific Coast Highway in both directions in the area to investigate. The lanes reopened around 7:45 a.m.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. It's unknown if any other vehicles were involved.


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