Two people were killed Wednesday in a fiery collision when a Dodge Challenger possibly involved in an illegal street race hit their car from behind, causing it to spin out of control and slam into a light pole.
The victims were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which was reported about 12:30 a.m. at 11th Street West and Rancho Vista Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. They were in a Toyota Corolla that burst into flames, sparking a vegetation fire that was extinguished by firefighters.
Sheriff’s officials said the Challenger was traveling westbound at a high rate of speed in the number two lane on Rancho Vista when it slammed into the Corolla from behind, causing the driver to lose control of the car, which hit a light pole and rolled over, becoming fully engulfed in flames. The male driver was ejected, and the female passenger was trapped inside. However, a witness said he tried to save the man by pulling him from the wreckage. It wasn’t clear, therefore, if the fatally injured man was ejected or trapped.
The driver of the Challenger abandoned the car and left the scene in another vehicle described by witnesses a dark blue Infiniti.
A man who said he was the father of the woman who died in the crash identified her to CBS2 as Spechelle Pope, a young mother of four children. He said Pope was a passenger in a ride-hailing vehicle, on her way to get groceries.
Jonathan Craig, who works at a nearby Denny’s restaurant, tried to save the male driver from the wreckage.
“He was moaning, he was groaning ” Craig told KTLA5. “I was burning my hands. I took off my apron to try to pull him without burning myself. I pulled him to safety, which I thought was safety, and he stayed with me for about two more minutes. I tried to keep his attention, you know, telling him to stay with me because he was groaning, he was still breathing, and eventually he stopped breathing. I never thought I’d witness something like that, dude, to be honest.”