Three people in a stolen sport utility vehicle, including a pregnant woman in her third trimester, died early Friday after a high-speed chase ended in a fiery collision in Boyle Heights, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The Chevrolet Tahoe, running a red light at 60 mph, was broadsided by a United Parcel Service big rig, which veered into a gas station and struck a gas pump, setting it on fire. The UPS driver "quickly ran to safety" and suffered only minor injuries, said CHP Sgt. Rick Miler.
CHP officers began following the Tahoe just after midnight, when they noticed it and a white sedan erratically driving west on the Pomona Freeway near the Santa Ana Freeway interchange, Miler said.
A check of the license plate showed that the gray Tahoe, which was registered in Fremont, Calif., had been reported stolen in Los Angeles.
Both vehicles quickly left the freeway, and the CHP officers continued to chase the Tahoe as it accelerated along empty streets. The white sedan broke away from the chase before the accident and has not been seen since, Miler said.
At 8th and Soto streets, the Tahoe ran a red light, colliding with the UPS tractor-trailer and sending it into a Unocal 76 station.
The male driver of the Tahoe died at the scene. Two passengers, a man and a pregnant woman, died at County-USC Medical Center.
A fourth passenger, a man who suffered a broken leg, was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
Miler said investigators suspect that all four were gang members. None was wearing a seat belt. A controlled substance and a .22-caliber rifle were found in the SUV, Miler said.