Violent Crash in California Kills 4 People, 2 Dogs; Witness Says Driver Ran Red Light: Officials

August 15, 2019 Updated: August 15, 2019

Officials said that four people and two dogs were killed in a violent crash, and a witness told local media in Los Angeles that the driver ran through a red light.

The crash, which occurred in Lancaster, California, took place on Aug. 14 as a Toyota Avalon was heading west on West Avenue after 12 p.m., KTLA 5 reported. The Avalon hit a Volkswagen Jetta that was going north, said the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office.

All three occupants of the Jetta were ejected due to the crash. Two died at the scene, officials told the station. One of the women was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The driver of the Avalon died after being taken to the hospital, said officials. According to the Los Angeles Times, he was wearing a seatbelt and was the only person in the vehicle.

None of the three people in the Jetta were wearing seatbelts, California Highway Patrol Sgt. David Jennings told the station.

The ages of the victims were 30 to 45, and their names weren’t released in media reports.

An Australian cattle dog and a Siberian husky puppy that were both riding in the Jetta died, the LA Times reported.

“There’s no factors that we can identify in the crash that would cause this person to run that red light. There’s no braking before impact, so it’s hard to put a reason as to why this person ran the red light,” Jennings told KTLA, adding there is no indication that either driver was impaired or drunk at the time of the accident.

Investigators with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department are still trying to determine what caused the driver to blow through the stoplight at the intersection.

People with information are encouraged to contact the Lancaster office at (661) 948-8466.

Other details about the case are not clear.

Crash Deaths in the United States

Tens of thousands of people are killed and millions injured each year from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says these deaths cost more than $380 million in direct medical costs.

File photo of traffic on a highway. (Xan Griffin/Unsplash)

The major risk factors for crash deaths in the United States are not using seat belts, car seats, and booster seats (factors in over 9,500 crash deaths); drunk driving (a factor in more than 10,000 crash deaths); and speeding (contributing to more than 9,500 crash deaths).

According to 2017 data from the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

These further break down as follows: the most common are unintentional poisoning deaths (58,335), followed by motor vehicle traffic deaths (40,327), and unintentional fall deaths in third place (34,673).

The total number of emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in the United States in 2017 was 30.8 million, according to the CDC.

The 10 leading causes accounted for 74 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.

Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.