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Santa Ana motorist hits a light pole, dies; 6 passengers injured

A Santa Ana man died Monday after losing control of his SUV, which struck a light pole and caught on fire on the connector road between the 55 and 22 freeways.

The 43-year-old driver, whose name has not been released, lost control of his 1999 Chevy Suburban, which carried six passengers, shortly after 1 a.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Denise Quesada. He was driving from the southbound 55 Freeway to the westbound 22 at about 75 miles an hour when he veered into the right side of the connector road, hit the pole and the SUV caught on fire, Quesada said. The accident prompted the CHP to shut down the connector road to the 22 for nearly four hours.

Residents in a nearby apartment building who heard the collision came out with fire extinguishers to put out the flames. “We also had people at the apartments help remove the passengers from the vehicle,” Quesada said.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Six passengers were taken to local hospitals, including a 45-year-old Santa Ana woman who sustained a fractured arm. The other five had minor injuries.

The connector road to the westbound 22 Freeway was reopened at 5 a.m., Quesada said.

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-- David Zahniser

 
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