Riverside County, California — August 21, 2012
Police say two people died Tuesday when a police chase ended with a car smashing into a tree and catching fire in the Hemet area.
According to officers with the Hemet Police Department, an unidentified female was behind the wheel of a vehicle as it traveled along South Alessandro Street around 2:05 a.m. Law-enforcement officials recognized the vehicle as one reportedly involved in four violent crimes and initiated a traffic stop.
The suspect driver yielded and was conversing with an officer when she suddenly accelerated. Police gave chase as the vehicle sped along East Whittier Avenue, toward South State Street.
There, the driver apparently lost control, smashing into a tree, causing the car to ignite. Paramedics responded to the scene, but were unable to save the driver and a female passenger.
A second female passenger was hospitalized for treatment of major trauma.
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: Police have identified the driver of the vehicle as 33-year-old Hemet resident Crystal Gray, who died on scene. Police have identified the deceased passenger as 21-year-old Hemet resident Shelby Kraft, who was in the back seat and died at a hospital 80 minutes after the crash.
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