Authorities say a black Audi ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed as a Nissan was turning from Cabrillo Park Drive to eastbound Fruit Street, and the Nissan was T-boned by the Audi at about 11 a.m.
Residents who heard the violent crash ran out and found the victims unconscious. Several people jumped into action, trying to pry the door loose. Witnesses say the suspect also tried to open the doors, but then fled after calling someone on his cellphone.
The driver of the Nissan, identified as 53-year-old Alejandro Bravo, was declared dead at the scene. A passenger, identified as 50-year-old Juan Jose Luna Castro, was rushed to a local hospital, but died a short time later.
The driver was identified as 21-year-old Jorge Ocampo, a documented gang member who was on probation.
Santa Ana police say Ocampo fled into a condo complex after the crash and then vanished. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 130 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, a shaved head and tattoos on his arms. He was last seen wearing a white shirt and black shorts.
Police earlier said there was also another man in the Audi, but after interviewing witnesses, officers determined that there was only one suspect in the vehicle.
The two victims were friends and lived at the condominiums nearby. Luna was a longtime groundskeeper there, according to friends.
"He was such a fixture of the Redwoods," said resident Kathleen Squires. "I'm going to really miss him."
Friends and family gathered Friday night at a growing memorial for the victims.
"I'm going to miss him. I don't even have words that can express how I feel inside right now," said Bravo's nephew, Bryan Ledesma.
Anyone with information is urged to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS. There is up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.