CHP authorities say a speeding motorist may have been drunk when he smashed his 2001 Ford Mustang into guardrails at the western end of the Santa Monica Freeway, early Saturday morning. His two teenaged passengers escaped the fiery wreck with minor injuries.
No names was immediately released for the driver, who died in the flames as two other cars struck the wreckage.
The crash was reported at 1:35 a.m. in the transition from westbound Interstate 10 to northbound Highway 1 approaching the McClure Tunnel and Pacific Coast Highway, said California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball.
He said investigators believe the Mustang struck the metal guardrail on the north side of the freeway, went up an embankment and struck a concrete wall. The Mustang spun back onto the freeway, facing the wrong way, blocking both lanes and catching fire.
The driver remained trapped inside the car and died in the flames, the CHP said. Two male passengers, aged 16 and 19, were able to scramble out as a 2008 Audi A4 and Jeep Cherokee crashed at the wreckage.
No one in the other cars was injured, but the 19-year-old Mustang passenger was cut in his face. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital with what was described as moderate injuries.
The 16-year-old boy had minor cuts to the left hand, and was also taken to a hospital.