Moments before a fiery collision claimed two lives in one car, the driver of the other vehicle was seen speeding, said a motorist who witnessed the crash.
The crash occurred in Inglewood at about 9:20 a.m. Thursday on Crenshaw Boulevard at 108th Street. Both vehicles burst into flames. The white vehicle was so severely damaged as to be almost unrecognizable. Its two occupants were pulled out as it burned, but did not survive, said Capt. Brian Jordan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The driver of the other car, an Infiniti sedan, was taken to a hospital in critical condition with a broken leg and other injuries.
Inglewood police have yet to reveal what they learned. Motorist Kimberlee Couch described seeing the Infiniti northbound on Crenshaw, pulling away from her, when it collided with the oncoming car as it was turning left onto 108th.
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Witnesses said they could hear the sound of the collision from blocks away.
"As I heard the impact, I already knew it was very bad," said one man who was parked outside the laundromat on the west side of the intersection. On the other side of Crenshaw, near where the wreckage came to rest, residents poured out of apartments and houses.
"Everybody stopped what they were doing and ran straight to the car," said Qianna Wooden.
One rang the bell at nearby Los Angeles County Fire Station 170. At that moment, all its personnel except one engineer were out of the station for a safety inspection, Jordan said. The engineer grabbed helmet, gloves, and fire coat and ran to the white car to extricate the occupants, with the help of several of the residents. CPR was attempted before fire engines and paramedics arrived, but the two were already beyond help.
The driver of the Infiniti was rescued by an off-duty firefighter who happened to be in the area, Jordan said.
Couch, who was driving north on Crenshaw with her son, said she first became aware of the Infiniti near Imperial Highway, when it was alongside and the driver tried to get her attention, appearing to her to be trying to flirt with her. Couch said she ignored him, and he accelerated away, driving erratically and nearly rear-ending another car before the deadly impact at 108th.
Video recorded by security cameras along Crenshaw showed the Infiniiti traveling at a much higher speed than other northbound vehicles.
Couch could see the white car begin its turn as the Infiniti was still some distance away, but closing fast. Near the intersection, police found skid marks indicating just before impact, the Infiniti did try to slow.
Two blocks of Crenshaw remained until the on-scene investigation finished late in the day.