The incident occurred shortly after 4 a.m. near the 710 Freeway and Anaheim Street. The car tumbled over the side of the road and landed on its roof on the west bank of the Los Angeles River.
A total of four people were in the car at the time of the crash. The deceased include two males and one female. One surviving individual, a male, was transported to an area hospital in unknown condition.
The victims have been identified as Fabian Garcia, Jr., 19, Armando Herrera, 19, and Alicia Yanonis, 17.
"So they got the vehicle stabilized and then they had to get the Jaws of Life down there and get into the vehicle and spread apart the door to get it open to make entry into the vehicle, and then they had to bring that patient back up the embankment," described Battalion Chief Jim Arvizu with the Long Beach Fire Department.
Anaheim Street was shut down in both directions as the rescue unfolded. The Anaheim Street on- and off-ramps on the 710 Freeway were also shut down. Residents heard the commotion. All roads have since reopened.
"I think they completely missed the entrance to the freeway and just went straight and launched right off of there," said Ryan Dunn, a Long Beach resident.
Police believe the car was heading east on Anaheim Street when the driver flew off the road and into the river bank. How fast the car was going is a key part of the investigation.
"At this point, it appears to be possibly a high rate of speed was involved. No other conclusions until the detectives continue their investigation and come up with more details," said Long Beach police spokeswoman Marlene Arrona.
How fast was the car traveling? Were drugs, alcohol or distracted driving involved? These are just some of the questions authorities are asking as they try to piece together how this tragedy unfolded.
If you have any information about this incident, you're urged to contact the Long Beach Police Department.