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Crash kills 5 teens in Newport Beach; car split in half, burst into flames

May 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Five teenagers from Irvine were killed in a fiery car crash in Newport Beach on Monday night, officials said.

Friends of the victims came to the scene of the accident Tuesday afternoon to say their goodbyes.

"They're all really gone, and it's really hard on our whole school," said friend Kelly Dunkle through her tears.

Investigators said the Infiniti sedan was traveling southbound on Jamboree Road north of Island Lagoon around 5:30 p.m. when it veered off the road and slammed into a tree. The impact was so severe that it severed the vehicle and started a fire.

"The vehicle split in half and one half of the vehicle caught on fire," said Kathy Lowe of the Newport Beach Police Department. "There were four occupants that were completely ejected from the vehicle and a fifth person was partially ejected."

Four of the victims died at the scene. The fifth died after being transported to a hospital. The victims were identified as:

  • Driver: Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan, 17, a 12th grade student at University High School
  • Passenger: Nozad Al Hamawendi, 17, an 11th grade student at, Irvine High School
  • Passenger: Cecilia D. Zamora 17, an 11th grade at Irvine High School
  • Passenger: Aurora Christine Cabrera, 16, a 10th grade student at Irvine High School
  • Passenger: Robin Cabrera, 17, a 12th grade student at Irvine High

"Waking up to finding out that your best friend has died, I couldn't believe it at first, you know, but they're gone," said friend Jasmine Cabrera.

Friend Branden Juan said he was on the phone with one of the occupants when the crash happened.

"The last thing I heard from them was...Christine, or Aurora, and Robin laughing and then the line cut," said Juan.

Debris was scattered across the road. Police closed down both sides of Jamboree Road in the area as investigators looked into the cause of the crash. Lowe said speed is believed to be a contributing factor.

The speed limit on this stretch of Jamboree Road is 55 miles per hour. Investigators have not yet determined how fast the car was going, or what caused the driver to swerve off the road.

"We will try to talk to any witnesses and determine if there was some activity prior to the collision that caused the accident," Lowe said.

Rescuers said it was a horrific scene.

"I've seen a lot of traffic collisions and this was, if not the worst, one of the worst traffic collisions I've seen in my 30-year career," said Cpt. Glenn White of the Newport Beach Fire Department.

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