A suspected burglar is dead, and two others were sent to a hospital after a brief pursuit ended in a crash in Santa Ana Tuesday night.
The incident began about 11 p.m. when a deputy noticed someone near a Tustin 7-Eleven store running toward a vehicle, Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
The vehicle took off at a high rate of speed and the deputy followed, thinking a robbery or other crime had just occurred, Bertagna said.
There was a short pursuit, but the deputy eventually lost the vehicle, described as a white Infiniti.
The Infiniti continued into Santa Ana, where it lost control after it hit a dip in the road while traveling at about 100 mph near South Lyon Street and East Chestnut Avenue.
The driver, identified as 20-year-old Ge’onte Ray Charles Sessions, lost control and crashed head-on into a tree, officials said.
The front passenger died at the scene, Bertagna said. Police identified him as 19-year-old Luis Arreguin, also of Los Angeles.
Sessions and the rear passenger, Travon McNeil, had to be extricated from the vehicle and were sent to a trauma center, authorities said.
Francisco Rivera told KTLA he lives near the crash scene and rushed to help.
"When we came out, the car was kind of on fire. So the first think I thought was taking the fire extinguisher and taking out the fire," he said.
"We heard noises from the back seats of the SUV, and there was one person trying to get out, but it was impossible for him to get out," Rivera said.
Neighbors said if the car had not been stopped by a tree, it likely would have plowed into a nearby apartment building.
Investigators later determined the occupants were involved in a burglary at a boutique near the 7-Eleven in Tustin that sells designer purses and shoes, Bertagna said.
“We have found numerous items that appear to have been taken in a burglary,” he said.
New cell phones and other items found in the vehicle led investigators to believe the suspects had been involved in other crimes prior to burglarizing the boutique, Bertagna said.
It was unclear if the Infiniti had also been stolen.
Since the crash resulted in a death, Sessions may face charges including vehicular manslaughter, Bertagna said.
"They were fleeing from the officers - a high-speed pursuit - which led to the death of the front passenger of this vehicle. So the driver in this case can be held responsible for that death," he told KTLA.
Sessions was also wanted on a warrant for robbery in Los Angeles, officials said.