Bad Weekend for Local Car Crashes

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Aftermath of Saturday morning’s fiery, fatal crash at Third Street and Wilton Pl. Photo courtesy of Matthew Artukovich.

This was a scary weekend in local traffic news, with three noteworthy crashes in our area.

The first, which occurred at about 2:30 Saturday morning, was at the intersection of W. Third Street and Wilton Place.  Windsor Square resident Matthew Artukovich reported on NextDoor.com that he heard “the loudest collision nearby, which was followed by screaming and hollering.”  Soon after, according to Artukovich, a police helicopter arrived, along with the LAFD, which extinguished a fire in the victims’ vehicle.  Two people were killed in the collision, with two others transported to a local hospital.

According to ABC-7 TV, “Police on Sunday were searching for a hit-and-run driver in a crash that claimed two lives in Koreatown after the victims’ vehicle burst into flames upon impact…The suspect vehicle traveled west on 3rd Street when it ran a red light and hit another car, which set it on fire, police said.  A description of the hit-and-run suspect was not released.”

A later report on the LAist blog said “the impact from the crash forced the car into a pole, causing the vehicle’s gas tank to catch fire, and burst into flames…Two 25-year-old male passengers inside the car were killed, and pronounced dead at the scene.”  The report goes on to say “there were five people in the car at the time of the crash, and…two of the other three passengers were taken to the hospital. Their conditions are unknown.”  Also, “Police said Sunday morning that a person has been detained for questioning, but they have not yet released any information about them, or if they are considered a suspect or not.”

Video (and fairly graphic) footage of the fiery aftermath of the collision is available at http://onscenevideo.tv/koreatown-fatal-vehicle-fire-graphic/

The second scary incident occurred around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday when a car jumped the curb in front of the Vernetti restaurant at 225 N. Larchmont.  According to LAFD, four people were examined by paramedics at the scene of that incident, but – luckily – there were no serious injuries and no one was taken to a hospital.

Ridgewood-Wilton resident Christy Fuhrer had family members nearby at the time of the incident, and provided this account to the Buzz:

My son, Lucas, was inside Burger Lounge and my husband was at Pinches Tacos. Lucas said he first heard screams and then he heard the crash…[my husband] Christian came down a minute later and saw the aftermath. He offered to help out, but the Vernetti staff had everything under control. The man who was driving the car seemed stunned and remained in his car until the fire department arrived.

 

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Detail of the Larchmont crash. Photo by Christian Fuhrer.

 

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Vernetti staff helping clean up after the crash. Photo by Christian Fuhrer.

In addition to the lack of serious injuries, property damage in the Vernetti crash was also minimal.  According to the restaurant’s owner, Steve Vernetti, the car hit a beam at the front of the restaurant, which had been upgraded from decorative to structural quality in a recent remodel. The stronger beam, and overall quality of the new construction, kept the car from progressing into the restaurant, which saved lives.

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Steve Vernetti’s photo showing the car at rest on the new structural beam.

Vernetti did close for the rest of the evening after the crash, but it was open again on Sunday and, according to Steve Vernetti, had a normal brunch service with about 140 customers.

Finally, around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, a car overturned at Beverly and Lucerne, closing the eastbound lanes of Beverly until the vehicle was removed.  Reports on this incident have been minimal so far.

 

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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