CONTRA COSTA CO. (BCN) — California Highway Patrol officers arrested a 28-year-old driver following a fiery crash near El Sobrante that killed three of his passengers Sunday night.
San Pablo resident Justin Gardner was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, but other counts may be pending, CHP Officer John Fransen said.
Gardner was speeding east in a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro on San Pablo Dam Road just east of Tri Lane around 10 p.m. when for some reason his car drifted into the westbound lane, Fransen said.
The Camaro sideswiped a 2002 Honda Civic being driven by a 35-year-old woman, who was not injured in the collision, Fransen said.
Gardner lost control of the car and crashed into a tree alongside the road, the officer said.
Gardner, who wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, was ejected from the car and suffered moderate injuries, according to Fransen.
The car burst into flames, trapping its three occupants, who were unable to escape the inferno, Fransen said.
Inside, a 26-year-old San Pablo man, a 23-year-old Richmond woman and a 24-year-old San Pablo woman died, Fransen said.
A Contra Costa County coroner’s deputy said this morning that the names of the three victims have not yet been released.
Officers suspect alcohol was a factor in the collision, Fransen said.
Anyone with information regarding the circumstances leading up to the collision or witnesses to the collision itself is encouraged to contact the CHP at (925) 646-4980.