IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A pair of deadly nighttime crashes only hours apart in Southern California each killed five people, including a group of teens returning from an amusement park who were burned beyond recognition, officials said Saturday.
Shortly before 9 p.m. Friday, three vehicles collided on a two-lane rural road on the edge of Chino, a city east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County. Authorities were working to identify the dead and determine the cause Saturday afternoon, police spokeswoman Monica Gutierrez said.
A little over five hours later at about 2:15 a.m. Saturday, a car carrying six teens returning from Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Vista flew off Interstate 5 in Irvine, crashed and caught fire. Three teenage boys and two teenage girls were killed, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.
The 16-year-old driver was the only survivor and was listed in serious condition with a head injury, Concialdi said.
The fire burned a quarter acre of brush before firefighters were able to extinguish it about 30 minutes later. Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.
“This is a tragic reminder that we need to be extra careful driving, especially after midnight,” Concialdi said. “This is a horrific accident.”
Officials investigating the crash shut down three lanes of southbound Interstate 5 and a transition road for most of the day Saturday.
In Chino, the lone survivor of the three-vehicle crash — the driver of a Honda Civic —was released from the hospital, Gutierrez said. The dead included four in a Chevy truck and one in a Honda Accord.
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