UPDATE: Man and two children killed, three others injured, in head-on crash on Industry-Pico Rivera border

INDUSTRY – A man driving a Honda Civic and two of his young passengers died late Thursday when their car collided head-on with a Nissan Sentra following a elementary school graduation party.
The names of the dead man and children were not released Friday pending confirmation that their families had been notified, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. The driver was initially described as a 22-year-old man, and the children were described as approximately 13 years old.
Four other people were also injured in the 8:45 p.m. crash in the 3500 block of San Gabriel River Parkway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“A preliminary investigation revealed the Honda passenger vehicle was travelling north on San Gabriel River Parkway and crossed over into the southbound lanes of traffic,” according to Lt. Andrew Meyer of the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station. “The Honda passenger vehicle struck the Nissan Sentra, which was traveling Southbound on San Gabriel River Parkway, and a head-on collision occurred.”
“There’s no suspicion of intoxicated driving at this time,” Sgt. Gerard Velona of the sheriff’s Industry Station said.
Speed was believed to be a factor on the part of the Honda, which was believed to have been traveling in excess of 80 mph prior to the crash, Velona said.
There were five people in the Honda.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Meyer said.
Three minors sitting in the back of the car were all ejected, sheriff’s officials said. Two of them died at the scene, while the third was hospitalized in critical condition.
It was not clear whether the ejected children were wearing seat belts.
A front passenger of the Honda, described by sheriff’s officials only as female, was hospitalized in critical condition following the crash.
Rene Ayala, 26, of Whittier, the godfather of the surviving child who was thrown from the Honda, said the three children were boys who had just attended a small party to celebrate their graduation from Carmela Elementary School. He added that his godson was 12, about to turn 13.
After visiting him at the hospital, “He’s doing good,” the godfather said. “I just told him to relax.”
The driver was Ayala’s godson’s uncle, he said. Friends and family members who visited the scene Friday morning did not know the identity of the front passenger, who officials said was also hospitalized in critical condition.
The driver and three boys were all from Whittier, Ayala said, though the driver had been recently staying in Compton.
The driver’s wife, who also attended the small graduation party at a nearby home, left in a separate vehicle, Ayala said. Through chance and intuition, she came upon the crash scene just after it occurred.
As she was driving, “She saw the road was blocked ahead,” he said. “She got a weird feeling.”
She made her way closer to the scene and realized her husband’s car was involved, Ayala said.
Anthony Cerda, 27, of Whittier is a friend of the driver who stopped by the scene Friday.
“I’m just in shock. It’s very tragic what happened,” he said.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Cerda said. “All I know is he’s gone, and only God knows why.”
He added that his friend was not a reckless driver.
In addition to his wife, the driver of the Honda is survived by a young daughter, Cerda said.
He worked as a machinist, Ayala added.
The woman driving the Sentra and another woman who was riding as her passenger were also hospitalized in serious condition following the crash, sheriff’s officials said. Their ages and cities of residence were withheld.
Though deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station initially responded to the crash, it was ultimately determined to be just inside the Industry border.
The investigation is being handled by traffic deputies assigned to the sheriff’s Industry Station.

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