Two boys were killed Friday evening in a violent collision in Santa Fe Springs that left a car severed in half after hitting a power pole, police said.
The victims were 11 and 13 years old, Whittier police at the scene said. The father of the boys, who was involved, was expected to live, police said.
The crash occurred at 5:53 p.m. at Los Nietos Road and John Street (map), a largely industrial area, according to the Whittier Police Department, which patrols neighboring Santa Fe Springs.
Police said they did not know if street racing was a factor in the crash, but a witness described seeing two vehicles driving next to each other at high speed before the crash.
"The preliminary investigation, based on witness statements, is pointing to a second vehicle that may have cut the victim vehicle off, causing it to lose control into the power pole," a police press release said. "That suspect vehicle, according to witness statements, continued eastbound Los Nietos Road and did not stop. At this time there is very little information on the second possibly involved vehicle."
A Honda Civic at the crash site was extremely damaged, with its back half sheared off, aerial video showed. The roadway was strewn with debris, and a yellow tarp appeared to cover a body.
The back half of the Civic was a "significant distance" from the collision site, a Whittier police press release said.
Police reported the 11-year-old was found in the middle of the roadway about 40 yards from the vehicle. The 13-year-old died in the front half of the vehicle. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
The male driver, 33, sustained significant injuries and was taken to a local trauma center, police said, adding that he was "reportedly the father" of the two victimes.
A witness said he was driving behind two cars before the crash. Anthony Marquez said he happened to be following the two cars onto Los Nietos Road when he saw one cut another off at a point where two lanes merged.
"They were going at least 75 mph. They had to be racing," Marquez said.
The car that was cut off began to swerve and hit a pole, said Marquez, who stopped at the scene.
"I saw the man in the car, he was crying out for his son. … I looked down the street and saw the other half of the car," Marquez said.
He said he ran down to check the wreckage and found the boy, who appeared to be about 10 years old.
"I tried waking him up, but he was already gone," said Marquez, who did not mention the other boy that police later said had been killed.
Police said only that the second vehicle was described as black. They intend to look at surveillance video from the area.