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Tire problem triggered fatal crash on 134 Freeway, officials say

August 13, 2012 | 10:04 am

A blown tire is being blamed for a dramatic crash on the 134 Freeway in which an SUV plunged off the roadway onto an Eagle Rock street below, killing four people and injuring two others inside the vehicle, officials said.

A witness told California Highway Patrol officers that the Ford Explorer's driver lost control about 7 p.m. Sunday after a problem with one of the tires. Tire debris was seen coming off the vehicle before it rolled, a CHP officer told KTLA-TV Channel 5.

Investigators said the SUV was driving east in the far left lane, near where the eastbound and westbound portions of the 134 are parallel bridges, and hit a raised asphalt curb after the tire problem. The vehicle then rolled twice, the CHP said, falling through the space between the bridges about 35 feet onto North Figueroa Street.

Three people -- including an 11-year-old girl -- were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. A man died later at an area hospital, the CHP said.

Two other people -- a woman and a 6-year-old girl who was thrown from the SUV before it fell off the freeway -- remained hospitalized Monday.

None of the names were available Monday morning because all of the victims' families had not been notified.

About 10 fire companies from Pasadena and Los Angeles and six rescue ambulances responded to the accident, which shut down the eastbound lanes of the freeway for more than an hour. Investigators said two other cars on the freeway sustained minor damage from debris left by the SUV when it lost control, but there were no other injuries.

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-- Kate Mather
Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

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