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Officials ID Whittier Man Who Died Inside Burning Car After Alleged DUI Driver Caused Chain-Reaction Crash

Jeremy Richard Olivas, 27, who died in a chain-reaction crash on Jan. 9, 2020, is seen in an undated photo shared by his partner.

Jeremy Richard Olivas, 27, who died in a chain-reaction crash on Jan. 9, 2020, is seen in an undated photo shared by his partner.

A man killed in a fiery crash when an alleged DUI driver rear-ended him on the 60 Freeway was a 27-year-old Whittier resident, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Jeremy Richard Olivas was driving a 2004 Ford Mustang in Industry on Jan. 9 around 10 p.m. when a driver in a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Promaster Van failed to stop for halting traffic and plowed into the back of his car, officials said. The Ford burst into flames and left the victim trapped inside the burning vehicle, where he died, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Brandon Feuerhelm.

Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said Olivas died from inhalation of products of combustion.

The force of the impact from the crash pushed Olivas’ Ford into a 2006 Honda Odyssey that was in front of it, which also caught fire. The Honda, in turn, was then pushed into the back of a 2010 Toyota Camry.

The driver of the Dodge van, 42-year-old Kaj Faaborg, ran from the scene but was quickly found nearby and arrested, officials said. He is accused of driving under the influence and hit-and-run, authorities said.

Olivas, who worked at Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Depot as a sales lead for eight years, is survived by his mother, father, five siblings and the “love of his life,” according to his obituary.

“Jeremy was the love of my life,” his partner told KTLA in an email.

“He was such a nice guy — always smiling and being positive!” a friend wrote about Olivas on the funeral home’s online tribute wall.

The 41-year-old Montebello man who was driving the Honda managed to climb out of his burning minivan but was taken to a trauma center with severe burns to his face and limbs, officials said.

A man and woman who were inside the Toyota declined medical treatment, according to officials.

Bail for Faaborg was set at $760,000, L.A. County booking records show. He is scheduled to appear Feb. 4 at the Pomona Superior Court.

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