Four men were killed Wednesday morning when the driver of a BMW traveling at high speed on the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway in South Gate lost control of the car, which slammed into a pole.
“We can confidently say that speed played a factor in this collision,” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Lopez told reporters at the scene. “We have significant … skid marks indicating the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed just due to how long those skid marks are.”
The CHP received calls about 3:15 a.m. that a vehicle had crashed into a pole on the right side of the freeway near the Firestone Boulevard exit.
Firefighters responded and declared the four dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. All four victims had been riding in the 2014 BMW M5, which was wrapped around the pole.
Witnesses told the CHP that vehicles were racing just before the crash, but it was unclear if street racing caused the accident, Lopez said.
“We have a lot of leads to go off of to see if there was indeed some racing prior to the collision, but right now that’s all speculative,” Lopez said. “All we know is … single vehicle, four fatalities.”
Later in the day, a CHP statement said alcohol “is not suspected to be a factor in this collision, pending (a) coroner’s investigation.”
The crash blocked all but one lane for hours, snarling traffic well into the morning commute.
A SigAlert was issued for the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 lanes. By about 8:45 a.m., lanes 2 and 3 lanes had been reopened, but the No. 4 lane remained blocked into the afternoon for guardrail repairs, the CHP reported.
The victims’ names were withheld pending family notifications, but authorities said two of the passengers were 22 years old. The ages of the driver and the third passenger were not immediately released.
Anyone with information regarding the crash was urged to call CHP Officer F. Cortez at the East Los Angeles Area office at 323-980-4600.