A fiery wrong-way car crash that killed one person and injured three others on a Long Beach bridge was under investigation Saturday night, authorities said.
Both directions of the Gerald Desmond Bridge were closed for several hours after a 2012 Mercedes-Benz traveling westbound in an eastbound lane slammed into two cars just after 7 a.m., according to Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Jake Heflin.
Despite the efforts of Long Beach police officers and several good Samaritans, the driver of a Nissan pick up truck struck by the Mercedes died at the scene. The man's identity was not immediately released.
Earlier in the morning, officers saw the Mercedes "driving erratically" and crashing through barricades in the area of Special Olympic events, police said. He was identified by police as Alvin Ray Shaw, a 28-year-old resident of Hawthorne.
The driver of the Mercedes was pulled out of the mangled car with the help of the jaws of life after the car's engine caught fire, Heflin said. The driver was listed in critical condition Saturday night.
The driver of a third vehicle, a Ford Fusion, was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, according to Heflin. Police said the driver was a 21-year-old resident of San Pedro, but did not release their name.
A Long Beach Police officer involved in the rescues suffered minor injuries to his arm. He was also taken to a hospital and later released.
Long Beach firefighters captured cellphone video of emergency responders attempting to save the driver of the Mercedes as the car burned and black smoke billowed from the bridge.
Gas and oil products from the crashed vehicles leaked through the grates on the bridge, down into the Port of Long Beach. Authorities notified the Coast Guard and officials from the port to take containment efforts and to minimize any further impact to the environment.
Both lanes of traffic were reopened on the bridge Saturday afternoon.
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Authorities were investigating where and why the wrong-way driver entered the bridge.