ORANGE, Calif. – A 26-year-old man and a pair of teens died and four other teens were injured Saturday in a fiery, `likely’ drug-induced single-car crash in Orange, where every occupant was ejected and in which a nitrous oxide tank was found in the vehicle, police said.
At about 2:45 a.m., officers conducting a traffic stop at Lincoln Avenue and Glassell Street spotted a speeding 2005 Nissan Altima southbound on Glassell Street and “tried to catch up with it,” said Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.
When they arrived at Glassell and Taft Avenue, the car was engulfed in flames and a suspected nitrous oxide tank and balloons were found “in and around the vehicle,” McMullin said.
The car “hit guardrails and signal lights related to a railroad crossing,” he said. All seven occupants were ejected from the vehicle.
Police believe the occupants were not wearing seat belts, as there were seven people in a car meant to seat five, McMullin told City News Service.
A teenage boy, a teenage girl and 26-year-old Garden Grove resident Gustavo Castro were pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
The driver — 19-year-old Azarie Fuller of Exeter, in Tulare County — was taken to a hospital along with a teenage boy and a teenage girl, and all listed in critical condition, McMullin said. Another teenage boy was hospitalized with moderate injuries.
“Witness statements along with evidence at the scene, which included a suspected nitrous oxide tank and balloons, indicate alcohol and drugs were likely a factor in addition to speeding,” McMullin said.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is a sedative often used by doctors and dentists, and is sometimes abused as an intoxicant.
The investigation continued and Orange police urged anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at 714-744-7444.
Metrolink tweeted that trains will not be stopping at Anaheim-Canyon Saturday due to the crash. Passengers needing to travel to or from Anaheim-Canyon were directed to call Metrolink’s customer service center at 800-371-5465 to arrange alternate transportation.