One of three people killed in a fiery car crash Sunday morning in Studio City, apparently a drunk driving accident, has been identified by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
Jason Shmelnik, 25, was one of two men and a woman who died when a BMW slammed into a Studio City pizzeria about 3:35 a.m. Sunday morning. Shmelnik appeared on "Dancing With The Stars" as part of the show's "Champion Kids" competition in 2007, CBS Los Angeles reports. You can see the video below:
The County coroner’s office said it could take days to identify the other two victims because of severe burns, though friends identified the others as Pasha Volodkovich and Ekaterina Botvenieva, NBC Los Angeles reports.
Police say the BMW spun out of control in the block of Ventura Boulevard near Tujunga Avenue, hit a tree and sheared a natural gas line. The vehicle became engulfed in flames when it plowed into a Studio City pizzeria with the passengers inside.
They say the crash may have been caused by a drunken driver who recently had left a friend's 21st birthday party.
Stunned friends of the three people in the vehicle watched the car smolder. One told a television reporter that he felt guilty because he’d seen that his friend was too drunk to drive.
The crash shut down Ventura Boulevard for five hours for the police investigation. A footrace that was planning to use the stretch of road had to be re-routed.