Three people were killed and others were injured, including four critically, after a suspected street racer collided with a big rig, setting off a chain-reaction crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce, authorities said.
The collision was reported around midnight on the northbound 5 Freeway near the Washington Boulevard exit, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP officials said a Dodge Charger and a Dodge Challenger were racing on the southbound 5 Freeway, traveling up to 90 mph. The driver of the Challenger attempted to go around a slower-moving vehicle, lost control and struck a UPS semi-truck.
The semi then collided into the center median and became airborne, striking a gray Nissan sedan traveling northbound. The semi sheared the roof of the Nissan before landing on a red Ford Explorer that was traveling northbound and bursting into flames. Debris from the collision struck at least two other vehicles, officials said.
"I just seen a UPS truck go up in the air over the center divider," said Javier Gonzalez who was at the site of the crash. "He landed in front of me and I just locked my brakes up and I plowed into the truck. Everything burst into flames."
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene, including the driver of the UPS big rig and a man and a woman in the Nissan, both in their 20s, officials said. At least four people were critically injured and two people were treated for minor injuries.
One of the alleged street racers, identified as Dealio Lockhart, 35, of Whittier, was taken into custody and is facing vehicular manslaughter charges. A second driver fled the scene and is at large, according to the CHP.
A UPS spokesman issued the following statement: "Our thoughts are with the victims and the families at this time. UPS is working with law enforcement as they investigate and we will conduct our investigations as well."
All lanes on the northbound and southbound 5 Freeway between Washington Boulevard and the 710 Freeway were shut down. Southbound lanes reopened at 10:45 p.m., while northbound lanes reopened just before midnight, according to the CHP.
Alternate routes during the closure included the 710, 605, 105 and 60 freeways.
The crash remains under investigation.
Oleevia Woo and Corey Arvin contributed to this report.