Three people died and 11 were injured in two multiple-vehicle accidents within a quarter-mile of each other early Sunday on the northbound San Diego Freeway near Seal Beach Boulevard.
At least one person was killed in each of the accidents, which occurred about 70 minutes apart. By late Sunday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol was unable to say in which of the two accidents the third victim was killed.
The first accident, which resulted in at least one fatality plus eight injuries to passengers in four vehicles, occurred about 1:30 a.m. north of the Seal Beach Boulevard exit, a CHP spokesman said.
A 1990 Toyota Camry with a flat tire stopped in traffic lanes, leading to crashes that sent at least two cars into retaining walls, police said.
Sysouphanh Inthichack, 19, of Baldwin Park, a passenger in one of the cars, died at the scene, police said. Three others in the same car, which rammed into a wall, suffered serious but unspecified injuries. One passenger was being treated at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, one at Santa Ana Hospital Medical Center and one at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, police said.
One person in the stalled car was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange with severe injuries, and two people in a Toyota 4 Runner that hit the Camry were being treated for minor injuries at Los Alamitos Medical Center, police said. Two people in a Ford Windstar struck by the 4 Runner were treated at La Palma Intercommunity Hospital for minor injuries.
In the next crash, just south of Seal Beach Boulevard, a Honda Civic rear-ended a different Toyota 4 Runner that apparently stopped for traffic from the first accident, police said.
The Honda spun out into shrubbery on the right shoulder, according to the CHP. The force of impact caused the 4 Runner to sideswipe the rear of a Chevrolet van that was slowing for traffic, according to the CHP.
Mauricio Salazar, 24, of Santa Ana, who was in the Honda, died at the scene. Another passenger in the Honda was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and two more passengers were taken to UCI Medical Center, one with severe injuries and one with minor injuries.
The third fatal victim was Mai Dang, 19, of Baldwin Park, who died at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. Police were unable to say in which accident she was involved.