The three women who were killed and the two others who were seriously injured in an I-5 crash Monday night were returning from a church service at Crystal Cathedral, the California Highway Patrol said.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Sara Flores, 40; Angela Cid-Del Prado, 49; and Elda Nada-Mayo, 24. They were all from Downey.
The 41-year-old driver and a 16-year-old passenger, also from Downey, were taken to UCI Medical Center with major injuries, the CHP said. CHP officer Gabe Montoya said it appears they were all related.
According to the CHP, the crash occurred at about 10:15 p.m. when the driver of the Ford Excursion, traveling at a high rate of speed, lost control of the vehicle on northbound I-5 toward Beach Boulevard.
The Excursion hit a guard rail, rolled over multiple times and wound up on its side just west of the Auto Center Drive on-ramp to northbound I-5, the CHP said.
Buena Park police Sgt. William Kohanek said three Buena Park police officers were the first to arrive at the scene at 10:19 p.m.
When they arrived, all five occupants had been clearly ejected from the vehicle, which was fully engulfed in flames, Kohanek said.
Officers noticed that two of the victims appeared to be dangerously close to the flames and chose to pull them to a safer distance, Kohanek added.
Once they assessed their injuries, officers realized the victims were already dead.
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