Two Westlake High School students were killed and two others seriously injured early Friday when their Mercedes-Benz SUV spun out of control on a Thousand Oaks roadway and slammed into a brick wall.
Kenneth Marshall Glass, 16, of Thousand Oaks and Jordan Alexander Bass, 16, of Westlake Village, were pronounced dead at the scene after the crash, which occurred just after 1 a.m. on Westlake Boulevard near Hillcrest Drive, said Sheriff's Sgt. Patti Salas.
Joshua Kuai, 16, of Westlake Village was listed in stable but critical condition at UCLA Medical Center with massive head injuries. Jenae Chu, 16, of Thousand Oaks was being treated for multiple fractures at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Hospital in Woodland Hills.
Glass, a member of the Westlake High School varsity basketball team who played in a tournament the night before, was driving, Salas said. Bass was in the front passenger seat.
Glass was wearing a seat belt, but it was unknown whether the other passengers were strapped in, officials said. The vehicle was registered to Glass' mother, Julia, officials said.
There was no sign of alcohol in the vehicle, but speeding may have been a factor, Salas said. A witness who was driving at about 50 mph told investigators she saw the SUV drive past her shortly before it hit the wall, Salas said, noting that the speed limit in the area is 45 mph.
"Driving at 16, there is a lot of freedom, and it's fun to go fast," Salas said. "They think they are immortal, and crashes like this prove they are not. They need to realize death is permanent."
Glass, 16, had a provisional driver's license, which allowed him to drive with others under the age of 20 if a parent, guardian or licensed driver over the age of 25 was present, Salas said. Drivers with provisional licenses also are prohibited from driving between midnight and 5 a.m.
Glass' parents were on a skiing vacation in Park City, Utah, and were contacted late Friday morning about their son's death, said James Baroni, a senior deputy medical examiner. The couple were expected to return Friday night.
Glass was a part-time starter for the Westlake High School Warriors basketball team and had scored one point from the free-throw line in a tournament game in Brea Thursday night against Warren High School.
"It's unbelievable, especially after we had just won," assistant coach Jeff Francis said after learning about the teenager's death.
Glass' coaches and teammates gathered early Friday in the Westlake High gymnasium to mourn.
"You are my sons," said a tearful coach Rich Sanders as parents and members of the team's booster club looked on. "That's why we're here. We hurt like you hurt, and I don't want anymore Kenny Glasses."
Sanders and other coaches said Glass had a bright future, noting that he wanted to study engineering at Columbia University in New York. "He was the nicest kid you would want to meet," Sanders said.
The team was set to play Friday night against Brea High School, but Sanders told the players it was their decision whether to compete. The team voted unanimously to cancel.
"I don't think I could go out and give all of my effort," team co-captain Devin Entrikin, 18, told the other players.
After the meeting, the players drove to the crash site, where others had placed flowers.
Two of Jenae Chu's sisters and her mother stopped briefly to ask about the condition of Joshua Kuai, a close friend of the injured girl.
"Thank God she is alive," Beverly Chu said of her daughter. "We feel really bad for the other families. I'm sad, and I told her I was glad she was alive and that I loved her."
Joshua Kuai's father, Jonathan, said his son, Glass and Bass were trying to form a rock band. The trio spent many hours in his guest house practicing with Joshua Kuai on the guitar, Bass strumming another guitar or banging on the drums, and Glass acting as "the critic," Kuai said.
"Kenny would just sit there for hours and hours listening and say whether it's good or bad," said Jonathan Kuai.
Kuai said Joshua, a member of the school's tennis team, left for Glass' house about 9:30 p.m. He learned about the crash shortly after his son was airlifted to Henry Mayo Newhall Trauma Center in Santa Clarita. The teenager was later transferred to UCLA Medical Center.
Jonathan Kuai said he was hesitant to place blame for the accident, the latest in a string of crash fatalities in Thousand Oaks involving teenagers. Since July, six youths have been killed in car crashes in and around the city.
"Police say they suspect speeding," Kuai said. "But I think authorities sometimes just hear teenagers and suspect bad things. These were very, very good kids."
Jordan Bass was an avid golfer with dreams of playing competitively at UCLA, said his father Bob Bass.
Jordan called his father at 11 p.m. Thursday night to tell him he was spending the night at Glass' house, said Bob Bass.
"He was a good kid, very responsible," Bass said. "He was spending the night at Kenny's house. I don't know why they went out. You teach them the best you can, and you give them their freedom. Or you lock them in their rooms until they are adults."