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Man Killed After Car Hit By Two Separate Suspected DUI Drivers On 10 Freeway
A car carrying four young people who had been enjoying a summer drive to the beach ended up being hit not once but twice on the 10 Freeway by two separate drivers suspected of driving under the influence. One man in the car was killed after being hit by the second car.
The tragic events were set into motion around 1:15 a.m. when a red Pontiac was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway near Centinela Avenue, which is near the 405 interchange. The Pontiac crashed into a Ford carrying the teens, before flipping over onto the shoulder of the road, according to KTLA. Firefighters had to pry the roof of that car to get to the driver, and he was hospitalized with serious injuries. He was arrested for driving under the influence.
Meanwhile, the other car burst into flames. Three were able to get out, but while they were working to help the fourth man out, another car, a Hyundai, came along and hit them. One man was killed in the second crash.
Stephanie Mejia, who witnessed the crash told KTLA, "We were trying to pull him out and when he was halfway, a car came and it hit him again and it blew out, it blew up."
The second driver was also suspected of driving under the influence and was arrested.
Jennie Alvarado was friends with the people in the car, and she had been traveling in a car ahead of the one that was hit. The driver of her car managed to swerve out of the way of the wrong-way driver. She described the victim as "one of her closest friends."
"It was a summer night, it was all of us, we were all friends, we were all going to the beach and we didn't even think it would end up like this," Alvarado told KTLA.
The crash snarled morning traffic on the interchange while authorities investigated the crash and cleaned up debris strewn across the lanes. They were reopened shortly after 7 a.m., the California Highway Patrol told City News Service.
UPDATE 6/29: The man killed in the crash was identified as Philip Ruiz Jr., 20, of Los Angeles the CHP told City News Service. KCAL9 added that today would have been his birthday. Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from a Taurus driven by Edgar Quiroz, 18, of Los Angeles.
The names of the drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence were also released. Jaime Herrera, 23, of Hawthorne was the driver of the 2005 Pontiac GTO that was going the wrong direction on the 10 freeway. He suffered a fractured spine in the accident. He is under arrest, but he is still hospitalized at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
The driver of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata that hit Ruiz a second time was Kenneth Weimer of Anaheim.