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Los Angeles County, California — August 12, 2012

Police say four travelers died Sunday when a sport-utility vehicle plunged 25 to 30 yards from an Eagle Rock highway.

According to troopers with the California Highway Patrol, an unidentified man over 40 was behind the wheel of an SUV as it traveled east along California State Route 34 between Pasadena and Glendale. As he approached Exit 11 (Colorado Boulevard), around 6:55 p.m., the driver apparently lost control.

Investigators say the vehicle rolled three times, ejecting a child passenger, and dropped 25 or 30 yards to Figueroa Street below. The male driver, a woman over 30 and a female child, 11, were killed soon after the crash. A 59-year-old male passenger died later at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

Paramedics transported a female child, 6, to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. An adult female, 36, was also hospitalized for treatment of critical injuries. Police are exploring the possibility that tire failure or alcohol contributed to the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of fatalities along America’s roadways declined in 2010 for the fifth-straight year. The total number of highway deaths last year was 32,788, down 3 percent over 2009.

UPDATE: The driver has been identified as 40-year-old La Puente resident Salvador Alvarado Ramirez. He died in the crash along with his wife, Veronica Ramirez, 38, and their daughter, Jackelyn Ramirez, 11. The driver’s father, Rafael Ramirez-Rodriguez, 56, died after being hospitalized.

The injured victims have been identified only as girls, 6 and 15.

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