3 Dead, 1 Injured After SUV Crashes Into Tree in Leimert Park

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Three people were killed and one was injured when the SUV they were riding in slammed into a tree in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles early Sunday morning, authorities said.

leimert park crash

An SUV slammed into a tree in the 2800 block of Coliseum Street in Leimert Park on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. (Credit: LOUDLABS)

Officers responded to the crash in the 2800 block of Coliseum Street (map) around 2:50 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Firefighters also responded to the scene, where they found the SUV had caught fire, police said.

Three people in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene, and a fourth person was taken to the hospital in serious condition, according to officials.

Friends of the deceased victims as Gary Jeter, Brittany Bliss and a man named Daniel.

Several family members of the victims arrived after the accident and were clearly distraught.

Some residents in the area said they tried to help after the crash.

“So it caught on fire, and then I came running across the street and met a short man, and the guy on the ground said that his friend was in the car,” Barbara Skinner said. “We opened the back door, and we tried to pull him out that way, but we couldn’t. We went to the other side and opened the door, and tried to pull him out, but he was just too heavy for us.”

The exact cause of the crash was not yet known, but speed was believed to be a factor, and it was foggy at the time of the accident, police said.

“This is just awful,” said Anita Maxwell, a friend of one of the victims. “It’s just the worst nightmare that you can even imagine.”

KTLA’s Juan Flores contributed to this report.