A 21-year-old woman speeding the wrong way in the carpool lane of the Artesia (91) Freeway in Long Beach crashed into another vehicle Sunday, killing both drivers, police said.
The crash took place at the Atlantic Avenue on-ramp of the eastbound freeway at about 5:25 a.m. The two women were pronounced dead at the scene and at least one vehicle caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A Palmdale woman was driving a 2016 Honda between 70 and 85 mph westbound in the eastbound HOV lane at the time of the crash, the CHP said. The other victim was a 30-year-old Hemet woman driving a 2016 Chrysler eastbound in the HOV lane at approximately 70 mph.
Two other people were assessed at the scene and released, according to Capt. Jack Crabtree of the Long Beach Fire Department.
“Further investigation revealed there was a property damage only collision that occurred a short distance from this fatal traffic collision, and was a separate incident from the fatal traffic collision,” the CHP said.
Authorities said the Honda was first spotted at around 5:20 a.m. by multiple 911 callers going up to 90 mph the wrong direction on the 91 Freeway near State College Boulevard just minutes before the fatal crash.
A Sigalert was issued at 5:47 a.m. shutting down all eastbound 91 Freeway lanes, just west of Atlantic Boulevard, as well as the transition road from the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway to the eastbound 91 Freeway while the accident was investigated.
At 10:55 a.m., Caltrans reported that all lanes had reopened.