CSUN Student Killed in Fiery Northridge Crash; Suspected DUI Driver Arrested

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Update: The driver in Sunday's fatal crash was being described as a person on interest on Monday, in contrast to information police provided on Sunday. An updated news story is here.

An alleged DUI driver was arrested after a fiery two-car crash left a 19-year-old CSUN student dead and injured several other young adults in Northridge early Sunday, authorities said.

Desira-Crittenden was killed after her vehicle was hit by an alleged DUI driver in Northridge on June 21, 2015.

Desira Crittenden was killed after her vehicle was hit by an alleged DUI driver in Northridge on June 21, 2015.

The driver of a Honda Civic slammed into the driver's side door of a red Ford Mustang at the intersection of Roscoe Boulevard and Lindley Avenue around 3:30 a.m., leaving one of the vehicles engulfed in flames, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A  total of five people -- three females and two males -- were initially said to be injured, some critically, according to a desk officer with LAPD's Valley Traffic Division. One of the female victims was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

"Unfortunately, due to the tremendous amount of impact on to that driver's side door... a 19-year-old female lost her life here at the scene," LAPD Detective William Bustos said.

The victim has been identified by the L.A. County coroner's office as 19-year-old Desirae Crystal Crittenden.

The father of Crittenden's best friend told KTLA his daughter was in the car when the crash occurred. At the scene of the fatal collision, Dwight Johnson recounted what his daughter told him of the moments right before impact.

Flowers, candles and photos were placed at the site of a fatal crash in Northridge on June 21, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Flowers, candles and photos were placed at the site of a fatal crash in Northridge on June 21, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

“According to my daughter, they were laughing and talking and she said the next thing that she knew … she realized that someone had hit them,” Johnson said.

He added his daughter was doing OK, but was distraught over her friend's death.

Friends of Crittenden left a memorial of flowers and candles at the crash site, while others left heartfelt messages on her Facebook page. Those who knew her described Crittenden as a kind-hearted, intelligent and beautiful woman who had a bright future ahead of her.

“I’m grieving for the family of her friend and the loss, and what their father must be experiencing on this Father’s Day, a true tragedy,” Johnson said.

A passenger in the Honda sustained life-threatening injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition, according to Sgt. Dana Adams. The passenger was not expected to survive, Adams said.

Los Angeles police were investigating a crash that left a 19-year-old woman dead on June 21, 2015. (Credit: Loudlabs)

Los Angeles police were investigating a crash that left a 19-year-old woman dead on June 21, 2015. (Credit: Loudlabs)

Authorities have not released the names of those injured in the collision, only stating that they were all between the ages of 18 and 21.

The 21-year-old driver of the Honda -- who was hospitalized and last reported to be in stable condition -- has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, police told the Los Angeles Times.

A person who lived in the area told KTLA he witnessed officers picking up beer cans at the scene shortly after the collision.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation. Anyone with information was asked to contact LAPD Valley Traffic Detective Gamboa at 818-644-8034 or Bustos at 818-644-8010.

Anonymous tips can also be left by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

KTLA's Geoff Peters and Steve Bien contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the driver of the Honda had been charged with driving under the influence. The driver was not charged over the weekend, and the story has been updated. Further, the story incorrectly attributed information that police provided to the Los Angeles Times; the attribution has been updated.

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