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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Passenger Killed in Crash of Speeding Car

March 02, 2000

CHATSWORTH — A passenger in a car speeding around a sharp turn on Nordhoff Street was killed early Wednesday when the automobile plowed into a light pole and caught fire, authorities said.

Christopher Chin, 20, of Burbank died after the car driven by a teenage friend hit a curb sideways and crashed about midnight into the pole and a tree along Nordhoff just east of De Soto Avenue, said Officer Morlee Watson of the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division.

The driver, Francis Miranda, 19, of Northridge and front-seat passenger Rommel Estrada, 20, of Sun Valley were able to get out of the car, but couldn't pull Chin out before the vehicle caught fire, Watson said.

"The machine got away from them, and it was that quick," said Watson, adding that it was unclear if the crash or the fire caused Chin's death.

Watson said there was nothing to indicate alcohol was involved. He said witnesses told police the two cars were headed to a nearby location to watch drag racing.

Police said it did not appear the car was racing another vehicle when it crashed. There were no arrests.

Miranda and the front-seat passenger sustained minor injuries and were taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where they were treated and released, authorities said.

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