Two men and a woman were killed as a BMW smashed into a Studio City pizzeria today, a fiery crash that may have been caused by a drunken driver who had been celebrating a friend's 21st birthday party.
Stunned friends stood on the sidewalk as the car smoldered, and one told a television reporter he felt ``a lot of guilt because I ... because I saw that he was too drunk to drive.''
The BMW flew off Ventura Boulevard and Tujunga Avenue at about 3:35 a.m., hit a tree and sheared a natural gas line. It smashed into Reno's Pizzeria, 11412 Ventura Blvd., and was quickly engulfed in flames, according to Sgt. Donald Kelly at the Los Angeles police Valley Traffic Division
The silver-colored BMW sedan came to rest against a wall, a fire
department spokesman said.
Ventura Boulevard remained closed five hours after the crash to
accommodate the police investigation. A planned footrace along the boulevard was rerouted.
Late Sunday, friends identified the victims as Pasha Volodkovich, Ekaterina Botvenieva and Jason Shmelnik. Shmelnik had worked on the Dancing with the Stars television program, accompanying celebrity dancers.
"They were really great guys," said Irina Karvchanko, who knew the victims. "I mean, it's all in God's hands, but it's just not their time, they're too young, they had their whole life ahead of them."