Speed was a factor in a multi-vehicle collision in Sylmar that killed two College of the Canyons football players and critically injured another, officials said. A woman and her 11-year-old daughter suffered minor injuries.
The college’s chancellor and the Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the deceased men as Alexander Manu, 18, of Reseda, and Isaiah Hastings, 19, of Lancaster. A third student-athlete, 18-year-old Eldridge Salguero of Van Nuys, remained hospitalized Saturday afternoon.
“We’re just devastated,” head football coach Ted Iacenda said in a statement. “Our team came together in a unique way over the summer, and the loss of Isaiah and Alexander leaves a void that I can’t begin to describe. We’re grieving for their families, and staying positive for Eldridge.”
The incident occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. Friday near the intersection of San Fernando and Sunshine Canyon roads (map), according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
A black 2005 Nissan 300Z was traveling southbound “at a high rate of speed” on San Fernando when it lost control, swerved into the northbound lanes, collided with a silver 2013 Honda Odyssey van and then crashed into an embankment, LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado said.
A witness who was driving behind the van told KTLA it appeared the small car crashed head-on into the other vehicle.
“I was on my way home, and just following the car in front of me, and I heard the crash, the hit of the two cars,” Ginny Taylor said. “So I looked up instead of, you know, directly at the car, slammed on my brake. She was braking. Saw some black things flying above her car, and then the car in front of hers… spun around, hit her again in the front… and spun some more, and ended up on the sidewalk or the dirt there.”
Taylor, who called 911, added that she didn’t see whether the black car was in front of the van or coming from the other direction when the collision occurred.
Hastings and Manu were in the Nissan and died at the scene; one of them was a passenger who was ejected from the vehicle, according to Preciado.
Salguero, the third person inside the two-seater, was transported to a hospital by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel. Police said he was driving at the time of the collision.
The three men were graduates of Birmingham Community Charter High School in Van Nuys, according to College of the Canyons officials.
The two occupants of the van sustained minor injuries and were also taken to a hospital, investigators said. They were later identified by police as 44-year-old Suh Min Kyung, of Castaic, and her daughter. Their conditions were not immediately known.
Police were searching for a third vehicle that was believed to have been involved in the incident, Preciado said. He described it only as a small silver car, and said the model of the vehicle was unknown.
Although a man who witnessed the aftermath of the crash said the stretch of San Fernando Road has a history of street racing, police said it was unknown whether racing was a factor in Friday night’s crash.
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Sgt. William Kelly of the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, adding that police were “investigating all possibilities” and would interview Salgeuro when he is released from the hospital.
Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Officer H. Fredo at 818-644-8037, or Detective W. Bustos at 818-644-8021.