Updated after the jump: The victims were 24-year-old Vanessa Cease of Long Beach and 26-year-old Alan Reyes of Diamond Bar. Friends say they were a couple. The driver who sped into oncoming traffic was 21-year-old Anthony Louis Fragoso of South Gate.
Scroll down for eye-witness commentary from LA Weekly readers.
One Diamond Bar man and a Long Beach woman, only 26 and 24 years old respectively, were thrown from their SUV to their death in a bizarre midnight accident on the eastbound 91 freeway.
This morning at about 12:45 a.m., for unknown reasons, a 1996 Mercedes C220 was reported as driving against traffic on the 91. Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that the driver of the sedan was traveling at “an unknown rate of high speed” before slamming head-on into the victims' 2006 Toyota Scion in the carpool lane.
The 21-year-old driver had no passengers. He's still alive, but barely. A CHP officer told City News Service that the young man, who lives in South Gate, was suffering from “major'' injuries this morning. He's being treated at the UC Irvine medical center.
Though none of the involved parties are from Orange County, the crash occurred in Anaheim, just east of Harbor Boulevard on the 91 (also known as the Riverside Freeway).
The 26-year-old Diamond Bar man, who was driving the Toyota at the time of the accident, was ejected through the windshield, according to the CHP. He died at the scene, along with his 24-year-old female passenger from Long Beach. Their identities have not yet been released.
Update: The 21-year-old driver from South Gate was named Anthony Louis Fragoso. As soon as he arrived at the UC Irvine hospital this morning, Fragoso went into surgery for “major injuries,” CHP Officer Ray Payton told City News Service.
According to Payton: “At this point we're pushing for prosecution for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Alcohol or drug consumption has not been ruled out, and the accident is still under investigation.''
A record of the 911 calls made in reaction to Fragoso show that he was heading the wrong way on the 91 East as early as the Tustin Avenue exit in Santa Ana — some miles before the crash site.
For gruesome photos of the vehicle and photos of the couple, watch the ABC7 report:
Some LA Weekly commenters also claim to have witnessed the wrong-way driver.
Deb says, “I was on the freeway last night as the Mercedes was speeding close to 100 mph heading the wrong way. I couldnt believe my eyes. He was in the fastlane and I quickly moved to the slow lane as he passed.”
Phan_tom51 says, “I was in the car pool lane and had to get out of the way at 12:49 this AM. The Benz was running fast and straight he did not swurve at all. A friend of mine called a couple of minutes after, and he said he haad seen teh car just past the fast track entry, and not telling how long this young man was on the wrong side of the road.”
Night Shift Worker says, “I was traveling in the fast lane behind the Scion which was in the car pool lane. The whole thing happened so fast the Scion barely had time to tap their brakes. I really did not know what happened, just that a huge accident happened right before my eyes. It was by the grace of God that we were not in the car pool lane because we usually are. I still don't know how we made it without getting hit. It literally happened right in front of us with the cars and car parts giong everywhere.”
With reporting from City News Service.
Originally posted at 9 a.m.