A woman and a young girl were killed Sunday evening when their car swerved off a Foothill toll road overpass near Lake Forest and plunged 40 feet, hitting the ground with such force that it "pancaked," authorities said.
The victims, whose identities were unknown late Sunday, were driving southbound on the toll road about 8:30 p.m. when their maroon Nissan Altima apparently lost control at the Towne Centre Drive overpass, Orange County Fire
Authority Capt. Paul Hunter said.
No one else was in the car, and investigators were unsure Sunday evening what had caused the vehicle to veer off. The car left no skid marks to indicate that the driver had tried to brake, Hunter said.
At the site of the accident, a 40-foot-long dirt embankment sloping downwards protects traffic from the edge of the toll road but failed to stop the runaway car, Hunter said. The Nissan continued over the toll road's embankment, smashing through a chain-link fence.
The car rolled over as it flew 70 to 80 feet through the air and landed upside down on the embankment next to Towne Centre Drive. The car hit the ground so hard that it dug into the dirt and left the Nissan just 3 feet tall.
A child's beach bucket, a small gift bag with the words "Happy Birthday" on it and some stuffed animals lay next to the wreckage as 20 firefighters righted the car and used the Jaws of Life to pry the victims from the twisted metal.
There was no other traffic close to the site around the time of the accident. Authorities could find no witnesses Sunday evening and said they believed that no other vehicles were involved.
Times photographer Kevin Casey contributed to this report.
* TRAFFIC LIGHT
The dreaded post-Thanksgiving Day congestion on freeways and at airports never materialized for most O.C. travelers. B7