Four men were killed early Wednesday 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 dead were identified by the coroner’s office as Hussein Ahmad Ghasham, 20; Hussein Yasser Saab, 24; Hussein Moussa Ayoub, 22; and Hussein Ali Saleh, 22, all from Bell. It was not immediately known which man was driving. Saab would have turned 25 in two days, the coroner’s office reported.
The CHP received calls about 3:15 a.m. that a car was wrapped around a pole on the right side of the freeway near the Firestone Boulevard exit.
Firefighters responded and declared the four occupants of the 2014 BMW M5 dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Witnesses told the CHP that vehicles were racing just before the crash, but it was unclear if that was the case, 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.
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.