ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Two en died Friday in unrelated solo-car crashes on the same stretch of the recently reopened Angeles Crest Highway.
The crashes were reported just after 3 a.m., and the other about 4:30 p.m., officials said, though both occurred within about a quarter-mile of each other on Angeles Crest Highway, just south of Dark Canyon Truck Trail, in the Angeles National Forest north of La Canada Flintridge.
Julio Cesar Velasquez, 21, of Pasadena, was pronounced dead at the scene of the early morning crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
He was driving westbound on the highway in his 2007 Honda at an unknown speed when he lost control, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
Velasquez’s car struck an embankment and a tree, and he was pronounced dead from his injuries by a Los Angeles County paramedic shortly after the crash, officials said.
“Alcohol is being investigated as a factor in this crash,” the statement said.
Friday afternoon, authorities received word of the second fatal crash about a quarter-mile north of the first crash scene.
Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle go over the side of the road and plummet about 500 feet down a hillside, CHP Officer Jennifer Connolly said.
The driver of the vehicle, who was initially described as a 48-year-old Monterey Park man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
No further information was available late Friday.
The causes of both crashes remained under investigation.
Caltrans officials on June 3 reopened seven miles of Angeles Crest Highway that had been closed since the Station Fire scorched the area in the summer of 2009.
The $32 million repair job was celebrated by local residents and motorists eager to see the connection between the San Gabriel and Antelope valleys restored, however the road also has a dangerous history.
Hundreds of crashes have been reported on the road in recent years, and CHP officials cautioned the public when it reopened to be careful while using Angeles Crest Highway and obey all traffic laws.