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Two killed in head-on collision on PCH in Malibu

July 16, 2010 |  7:48 am

Two people died and a third was critically injured Friday in Malibu when a wrong-way driver collided with another car, scattering wreckage across Pacific Coast Highway, which prompted officials to close the popular route near Point Dume.

The coast highway near Zuma View Place remained closed several hours after the 1 a.m. crash because authorities were trying to extricate a body from a mangled vehicle, said Lt. Richard Erickson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

A witness told investigators that a Saturn was traveling the wrong way on the westbound side of the road when it collided with a Mustang coming in the other direction. The Saturn almost immediately burst into flames, investigators said.

The drivers of both cars were pronounced dead at the scene, said Lt. Andy Rosso.

The passenger in the Mustang was airlifted by helicopter to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was believed to be in critical condition, Rosso said.

Sheriff’s traffic accident specialists were examining the scene, and coroner’s officials were on scene.

More than 100 yards of PCH was blocked off on either side of the fatal collision.

The Saturn was believed to be from out of state, and officials said items found inside the vehicle indicated it may have been carrying current or former members of the U.S. military. Sheriff’s investigators said that at this stage they believe two of the men involved in the collision were assigned to Naval Base Ventura County near Port Hueneme.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: The investigation into a traffic accident that left two people dead continues on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on Friday morning after a wrong-way driver collided with another car near Zuma View Place. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times