“Stuck” Accelerator Blamed for Four Deaths

The driver of a Lexus sedan called 911 saying his accelerator was stuck

Four people are dead after a Lexus sedan lost control and burst into flames and two of the victims may be children, a boy and girl, who were sitting in the back seat, investigators said. The male and female in the front may have been their parents.

The male driver called 911 shortly before 7 p.m. Friday in Santee, saying his accelerator was stuck.  Witnesses said they saw the Lexus heading northbound on 125 weaving through traffic at a high rate of speed.

CHP officials said the driver tried to make a left turn when the freeway ended at Mission Gorge Road, but he was going too fast and struck a Ford Explorer.  The Lexus then broke through a fence and struck a dirt embankment, catapulting it through the air more than 100 feet.   The vehicle landed in dense vegetation near a riverbed.

"The car ended up on its wheels and caught on fire, which caused a small brush fire," officer Brian Pennings said.

Firefighters quickly knocked down the flames and made the grim discovery.

"All four bodies were still in the vehicle, none were ejected," Santee Fire Chief Mike Rottenberg said.

The intersection was closed for several hours as the CHP investigated.  They said the bodies were charred and immediate identification was not possible.

The victim in the Ford Explorer was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  Investigators said that victim was not seriously injured.

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