The twisted wreckage of an Infiniti litters Jamboree Road in Newport Beach… (Charles Weinberg )
Five people were killed Monday evening in a fiery crash in Newport Beach when a car smashed into a tree, split in half and burst into flames on one of the city's busiest thoroughfares.
The crash occurred about 5:20 p.m. on Jamboree Road near Island Lagoon Drive, according to Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.
She said the car, an Infiniti, had been heading south on Jamboree Road in the direction of Pacific Coast Highway when it veered off the road and into the center divider. It struck the tree, ripped apart and burst into flames.
Four people were ejected from the vehicle, and another passenger was partly ejected, police said. Four were pronounced dead at the scene. The other was taken to the trauma center at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo but could not be resuscitated, according to Lowe.
None was identified.
"This is such a tragic accident when you have one car and all five occupants are deceased," Lowe said.
Police said they were still investigating and could not say what caused the accident.
Late Monday evening, debris, including twisted hunks of metal, stretched for several blocks around the crash site.
Investigators were expected to be on the scene well into Tuesday morning, and Jamboree Road remained closed in both directions between Santa Barbara and Back Bay drives.
Police sent out an email alert to residents urging them to avoid the stretch of Jamboree Road from Pacific Coast Highway to San Joaquin Hills Road until well into Tuesday morning.
Lowe called it the worst accident "in recent memory" in Newport Beach.
In June 2011, three people died in a 10-vehicle crash on Mariners Mile, including a former Corona del Mar High School track star.