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3 Injured as Station Wagon Strikes Compact From Behind

December 23, 1985

Three people were injured, two critically, when a car traveling an estimated 90 m.p.h. struck the rear of a slower moving compact car Sunday in North Hollywood, police and fire officials said.

The compact burst into flames after it was shoved nearly 500 feet onto the front lawn of a house.

Several onlookers ran to the burning vehicle and pulled a 30-year-old Sun Valley woman and her 70-year-old father from the front seat, acts that may have saved their lives, said Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells.

Police and fire officials said both cars were headed west on Vanowen Street near Whitsett Avenue about 1:45 p.m. when the station wagon rammed the compact and then careened down Vanowen Street, striking four parked cars.

The driver of the compact, Bezlina Christian, was in critical condition with a head injury at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. Her father, Matthias Christian, was in serious condition at Valley Presbyterian Hospital.

Police and St. Joseph officials said no identification was found on the station wagon's driver, who they described as a man about 35 years old. He was in critical condition with a head injury.

Several pedestrians rushed to the burning car and struggled to open its doors as flames erupted.

"It looked like a war," said Marlene Alperin, 41, a hairdresser who had just stepped out of her Vanowen Street house when she heard the crash.

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