Driver killed when car shears fire hydrant, slams into building in Canoga Park

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A man was killed early Tuesday, May 16, 2017, when his car sheared a fire hydrant and slammed into a building in Canoga Park, authorities said. (OnScene)

A 21-year-old man was killed early Tuesday morning when his car sheared a fire hydrant and slammed into a commercial building in Canoga Park, authorities said.

The force of the impact split the vehicle in half about 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Sherman Way and De Soto Avenue, a spokesperson for the LAPD's Valley Traffic Bureau said.

Dramatic surveillance video shows the sedan drifting sideways at a high rate of speed before it strikes the hydrant on the driver's side and then plows into the building.

A geyser of water erupted high into the air, and two businesses -- an auto shop and a car dealership -- were damaged in the collision.
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Dramatic surveillance video shows a car shearing a fire hydrant and plowing into a building in Canoga Park on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Firefighter-paramedics responded to the scene, where the driver was pronounced dead. Coroner's officials removed his body and later identified him as Steven Jose Rodriguez of Chatsworth. An autopsy is pending.

The cause of the crash was unknown, but Los Angeles Police Department investigators said the car was likely traveling at twice the speed limit at the time of the crash. A beer can was found near the wreckage.

"When I say freeway speeds, yes, there's a speed limit -- 65 miles per hour -- but it could be even higher because of the impact with the fire hydrant and eventually the building," LAPD Detective Bill Bustos told reporters. "As you can see, the car came apart (and was) basically cut in half."

Sherman Way was closed between Independence and Variel avenues as a cleanup operation got underway. It was unclear when the stretch of road would be reopened.
Related Topics:
traffic fatalitiescrashfirefightersCanoga ParkLos Angeles County
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