NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Five people who died in a fiery California crash that split a car in half were teenagers and included a pair of sisters, officials said Tuesday.
The victims — three girls and two boys — were students at two high schools in the Irvine Unified School District, said Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino.
“There are simply no words to convey the sorrow felt by our students and staff, nor are there sufficient answers to explain the loss of five vibrant teenagers from our schools and this community,” Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Terry Walker said in a statement.
The driver was identified as 17-year-old Abdulrahman Alyahyan, a senior at University High School.
The passengers included 17-year-old Robin Cabrera, a senior at Irvine High School, and her 16-year-old sister Aurora, a sophomore at the same school.
Also killed in the Monday crash were Cecilia Zamora and Nozad Al Hamawendi, both 17-year-old juniors at Irvine High School.
The Infiniti sedan carrying the teens veered off a road about 5:20 p.m. and hit a tree, said Kathy Lowe, Newport Beach police spokeswoman. The impact split the car and it caught fire, she said.
“It was a horrific accident,” Lowe said, adding that investigators were on scene for nearly 12 hours overnight.
Speed was believed to be a factor in the wreck, she said.
The posted speed limit on Jamboree Road, a major, six-lane street in south Orange County, is 55 mph. Lowe declined to say how fast the Infiniti was going, citing the ongoing investigation.
Four of the teens were thrown from the car and died immediately. The other was declared dead at a hospital.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
The coroner had to use fingerprints to identify two of the bodies, Amormino said.
There were no classes at the high schools on Tuesday because of a teacher development day, said Ian Hanigan, a spokesman for district. The district was in touch with authorities, he said.
Hanigan said additional counselors will be at the two high schools today.
News trucks clustered along the curb across from the accident scene as cars whizzed along the street fronted by gated communities and a major shopping and business complex.
The only remaining sign of the accident were gouge marks and a large chuck of missing bark on a tree that was struck by the car when it sailed into the median.