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Six die in wrong-way crash in Diamond Bar

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeLaw EnforcementHighway and Road DisastersDrunk DrivingLos Angeles County-USC Medical Center

A suspected drunk driver traveling in the wrong direction on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar is being blamed for a crash early Sunday that killed six people and left the driver in critical condition, authorities said.

Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 21, was heading east on the westbound 60 Freeway about 4:40 a.m. when her red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro and a red Ford Explorer collided head on, authorities said. Witnesses said the Camaro was traveling more than 100 miles an hour.

At least three women and a man were ejected from their vehicles, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Rodrigo Jimenez.

Four people were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at UC Irvine Medical Center, he said. All but one of the victims were women.

After the impact, the Explorer collided with a third vehicle, a Ford Freestyle driven by Joel Cortez, 57, of La Puente. Cortez suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

Culbreath is in serious but stable condition at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with a broken femur and a ruptured bladder, Jimenez said. She has been arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and felony manslaughter.

She was conscious, but investigating officers were unable to obtain a statement from her because of her condition, authorities said.

The CHP was trying Sunday evening to sketch out which vehicles the multiple victims had been traveling in.

Two women who were passengers in Culbreath's car died at the scene: a 24-year-old woman from Chino and a 24-year-old woman from Rialto, said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. A 47-year-old man, who is believed to have been a passenger in the Explorer and was ejected from the vehicle, also died at the scene.

The names of those killed have not been released pending notification of family members, Corral said.

Culbreath had been traveling north on the southbound 57 Freeway before heading on to the 60 Freeway in the wrong direction, authorities said.

Investigators "believe from what they found in the vehicle that alcohol was involved," Corral said. Authorities were seeking to run blood tests on Culbreath.

Standing near the crash scene as investigators measured skid marks and inspected debris, the CHP's Jimenez was astonished at the impact of the crash.

"This tragedy is 100% preventable," he said.

Sunday night at the Culbreath home in Fontana, where some relatives had gathered, Olivia's brother Kehtai Culbreath said the family knew little about her condition. Family members declined to discuss the incident. "There's not much to say," her brother said. "We're all still grieving."

Meanwhile, across the country Sunday morning, four members of a University of South Florida fraternity were killed when their car was hit by a vehicle heading the wrong way on a major interstate.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the young men were traveling south on Interstate 275 in north Tampa about 2:12 a.m. when another car — going in the wrong direction — hit their car. The driver of the second car was also killed.

matt.stevens@latimes.com

angel.jennings@latimes.com

rick.rojas@latimes.com

Times staff writers Samantha Schaefer and Julie Cart and staff photographer Gary Friedman contributed to this report.

Samantha Schaefer and Julie Cart and staff photographer Gary Friedman contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeLaw EnforcementHighway and Road DisastersDrunk DrivingLos Angeles County-USC Medical Center
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