WHITTIER >> A mother driving with her son died after two suspected street racers lost control and crashed along Colima Road in Whittier, sending one of the speeding vehicles slamming into the woman’s car on Friday night, authorities said.
Police arrested Corey James Kiefer, 22, of Whittier, and Jacob Zamora, 22, of Anaheim on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter following the 8:40 p.m. crash in the 7700 block of Colima Road, just north of Mar Vista Street, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
“It appears as though the individuals arrested were street racing,” Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
The identity of the woman who died in the collision was not released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of her family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said. She was initially described as a woman estimated to be in her 40s.
Investigators believe the fatal crash resulted from an illegal street race between a white Hyundai and a black BMW, which were both traveling at “a high rate of speed,” police said in a written statement.
“As the vehicles accelerated adjacent each other, one lost control and struck the other, causing a spin that sent the white Hyundai into opposing lanes, striking an oncoming Honda Accord,” according to the statement. “ The female driver was later pronounced deceased at a local hospital, while her juvenile son was transported to UCI Medical Center as a precautionary measure for minor injuries.”
Kiefer, who was driving the BMW, suffered no injuries in the crash and was arrested at the scene, officials said.
Zamora, who was driving the Hyundai, as well as a passenger, were taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries, officials said. Zamora was later arrested in connection with the deadly crash.
Authorities were yet to determine whether DUI played a role in the collision.
According to county booking records, Kiefer was released from jail Saturday morning pending his initial court appearance after posting $50,000 bail. Zamora remained in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing.
Anyone with information on the crash can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
CITY OF COMMERCE >> A Whittier man is accused of three counts of murder in connection with an alleged street racing crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce early Saturday that killed a UPS driver, the son of a homicide detective and a young woman, authorities said.
Initially booked on suspicion of manslaughter, David Lockhart, 35, was being held on suspicion of three counts of murder Sunday, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
Lockhart was racing another car when he lost control of his Dodge Challenger on the southbound 5 Freeway near Triggs Street in Commerce just after midnight Saturday, striking a UPS truck and sending the big rig hurling over the center median and into opposing traffic lanes, CHP Officer Doris Peniche said. The UPS truck struck a Nissan sedan, shearing off the tops, as well as a Ford Explorer. The big rig burst into flames.
In addition to the three people killed, two other occupants of the Nissan were hospitalized with major injuries, and two more people suffered minor injuries in the crash, officials said.
The deceased young man and woman, both Santa Clarita teens, who were reportedly returning from a visit to Disneyland in a gray Nissan. Both were passengers.
Los Angeles County coroner officials identified one of the victims from the Nissan as 18-year-old Brian Lewandowski.
Lewandowski was the son of Lt. Victor Lewandowski of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, who investigates homicides throughout Los Angeles County, sheriff’s officials said.
“Brian was an incredible young man and every parent’s dream for a son,” the Lewandowski family said in a written statement. “We are absolutely devastated by our loss. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families and our prayers are for the survivors’ recovery. We are very thankful for the love and support of family and friends throughout this time.”
In addition to his father, Brian Lewandowski is survived by his mother, Jocelyn Lewandowski, and two brothers, sheriff’s officials said.
The young woman killed while riding in the Nissan was identified by her parents as 19-year-old Michelle Littlefield, a student studying business at College of the Canyons and an employee at Six Flags Magic Mountain, according to media reports.
The third victim was identified on a Teamsters Local 396 Facebook page as 52-year-old Scott Treadway of Mira Loma who had been with UPS for 30 years.
“The Teamsters Local 396 Executive Board, Staff and Membership send our heartfelt condolences to the Family of our dear, departed Brother Scott Treadway, who we lost suddenly, in a tragic feeder accident last night. Scott was admired and loved by his friends and co-workers at UPS. We are still trying to come to grips with this horrible loss,” the organization posted. “We love and miss you Brother!”
Fellow teamsters held their meeting Sunday, “under such difficult circumstances,” in honor of Treadway, who worked out of a Cerritos UPS facility, according to the union chapter.
“The members honored Scott’s memory by sharing their thoughts and memories regarding Scott’s remarkable legacy as a UPS Teamster Brother,” Teamsters Local 396 wrote online.
The Dodge Charger Lockhart was allegedly racing, as well as it’s driver, had not been found Sunday, officials said.
Both directions of the 5 Freeway remained closed in the area of the crash through Sunday morning as officials made repairs to the damaged road surface and barriers, according to Caltrans and CHP officials.
According to county booking records, Lockhart was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Anyone with information regarding the crash was asked to contact officers Fonseca or Flores of the CHP’s East Los Angeles area office at 323-980-4600.
— City News Service contributed to this report.
PHOTOS: Crash scene [ABOVE] courtesy of Caltrans; Photo of Brian Lewandowski, 18, of Santa Clarita [2nd FROM TOP] courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Photo of Michelle Littlefield, 19, of Santa Clarita via Facebook; Photo of Scott Treadway, 52, of Mira Loma via Teamsters Local 396 Facebook page.
CITY OF COMMERCE >> A Whittier man was street racing when he triggered a fiery six-vehicle crash that claimed three lives and left two other people seriously injured on the 5 Freeway in Commerce early Saturday, authorities allege.
Dealio Lockhart, 35, is accused of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the 12:01 a.m. wreck on the southbound 5 Freeway, just north of Triggs Street, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Doris Peniche.
Two men and one woman died in the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said. Their identities were not available Saturday.
Both directions of the 5 Freeway remained shut down through Saturday afternoon and were expected to remain off-limits through Sunday morning as officials investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage.
Lockhart was at the wheel of a Dodge Challenger in the No. 2 lane, “while racing a Dodge Charger travelling in the No. 1 lane,” Peniche said in a written statement.
He tried to pass a slower moving vehicle when he lost control and struck the side of UPS tractor-trailor driving in the right-hand lane, the officer said.
“The impact caused the tractor trailer to lose control and collide into the center median and then became airborne, hitting a gray Nissan and shearing the top of the Nissan off,” Peniche said.
The truck continued out of control, coming to rest on top of a red Ford Explorer that had been heading northbound on the 5 freeway, according to the CHP.
“The tractor-trailer immediately became engulfed in flames,” Peniche said.
Debris from the collision also struck a Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Silverado in northbound traffic lanes.
The driver of the burned truck was pronounced dead at the scene, along with a man and woman who were inside the badly mangled Nissan, according to CHP and coroner officials.
Two other people were hospitalized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with “major” injuries as a result of the crash, Peniche said. Two other people were reportedly treated for minor injuries.
The Dodge Charger Lockhart was allegedly racing and its driver, were not found.
According to county booking records, Lockhart was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
He has no prior criminal history listed in Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
The freeway was expected to remain closed through Saturday night, or even Sunday morning, as workers carried out barrier repairs and repaved the damaged roadway, Caltrans officials said.
Anyone witnesses, or anyone with information is asked to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles area office at 323-980-4600.
PHOTOS courtesy of Caltrans