Street Racing Crash Kills 3, Closes California Freeway
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Street Racing Crash Kills 3, Closes California Freeway

traffic on highwayThree people are dead and five more critically injured after a multiple vehicle accident early Saturday morning on the 5 Freeway in Commerce City.

The accident was attributed to a street race on the freeway. One of the drivers involved in the race is currently in custody, while a second is still at large.

Chain reaction leads to crash

The accident, which occurred just after midnight on February 26, allegedly involved a street race between a Dodge Charger and a Dodge Challenger. During the race, one of the vehicles lost control and crashed into a UPS big-rig, causing the truck to flip over the median into oncoming traffic on the other side of the freeway.

The truck sheared the top of a Nissan before landing on top of a Ford Explorer and bursting into flames. The driver of the UPS truck was pronounced dead at the scene, as well as the two passengers that had been riding in the back of the Nissan. The driver of the Nissan and a front-seat passenger were both listed in critical condition at a local hospital after the crash.

The victims in the back of the Nissan were identified as Michelle Littlefield, 19, and Brian Lewandowski, 18. Lewandowski’s father is a homicide lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The driver of the UPS truck has been identified as Scott Treadway by the Teamsters Local 396.

Driver arrested, another at large

One of the drivers involved in the street race, Dealio Lockhart, 35, was arrested at the scene and remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bond. Lockhart, who has a history of excessive speeding in San Bernardino County and Utah, is expected to face charges of vehicular manslaughter. The other racer remains at large and no progress on the search has been reported at this time.

The 5 Freeway remained closed in both directions for most of the day on February 27 as officials cleaned up the crash site and investigators collected information. The CHP is also urging anyone who might have information about the driver of the Dodge Charger to contact them as soon as possible.

Street racing in Los Angeles fueled by social media

Local authorities estimate that street racing in on the rise in recent years, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Police attribute the growing numbers in part to the ability of racers to connect on social media to plan their next race. Another factor may be the popularity of the movie series “Fast and Furious,” as well as numerous video games that glorify street racing.

It is difficult to know just how far-reaching the consequences of street racing might be, since casualties related to the practice are not diligently tracked by the insurance industry or the government. However, reports in the media have shown street racing takes a severe toll on drivers, passengers and others that become the innocent victims of races, including the victims of this particular tragedy.

In California alone street racing has been having a significant impact on the safety of the roadways. Earlier this year, a driver from Hawthorne was charged with manslaughter after a accident he was involved in took the life of a musician and teacher who was driving near the race. Two other street races in early 2015 killed three people and left two injured.

If you or someone you love is the victim of a crash attributed to street racing or negligence, legal help is available. Car accident attorneys at Ellis Law always fight to achieve maximum compensation and can protect your rights in the event of serious injury or death.

Contact our Los Angeles office at 1-800-INJURED for a free evaluation of your case today.