A driver who is suspected of racing another motorist on the 5 Freeway in Commerce over the weekend and triggering a multi-vehicle crash that left three dead remained in custody Monday while the other speeder was still on the loose.
Dealio Lockhart, 35, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is due in court Tuesday, jail records show. Lockhart was driving a Dodge Challenger and admitted to authorities that he was racing a Dodge Charger southbound on the 5 Freeway when one of the vehicles lost control and triggered a violent chain-reaction crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Lockhart has a history of excessive speeding. In 2012, he was convicted in San Bernardino County of driving faster than 100 mph, court records show. In 2014, he was convicted of speeding in Utah, according to the DMV. He was also involved in a car accident in November in Whittier, DMV officials said.
In the crash just after midnight Saturday, one of the racing vehicles slammed into a UPS truck, causing the big rig to flip over the median, smash into oncoming traffic and explode. The big rig collided with a gray Nissan, shearing its top off, and came to rest atop a red Ford Explorer.
The county coroner identified two of the three victims: Brian Lewandowski, 18, and Michelle Littlefield, 19, both of Valencia. The third victim has yet to be identified. But Teamsters Local 396, a labor union, posted on Facebook on Sunday morning that UPS truck driver Scott Treadway was one of the people who died in the accident.
Lewandowski was the son of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide lieutenant, the department said in a news statement.
"Brian was an incredible young man and every parent's dream for a son. We are absolutely devastated by our loss," his family wrote in a statement.
Littlefield was part of the 2010 class from St. James Holy Redeemer School in Montrose, the school wrote on Facebook.
Both teens were students at College of the Canyons in the Santa Clarita Community College District, which mourned their loss in a statement:
“All of us at College of the Canyons are grieving the loss of Michelle and Brian. Their deaths leave a void on our campus, in the classrooms, and among their friends. I know they will be greatly missed by their teachers and classmates as they remember the relationships they had with Brian and Michelle, who were bright, caring, and committed people. And I know they will be inspired by the moments and memories they created and shared for others as they worked hard to be the best people they could be.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those who cared for and loved these two amazing young people, especially their parents. We are better because they shared them with us.”
The school's flags were being flown at half-staff Monday.
Lockhart was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.
The accident shut down that section of the 5 Freeway for most of the day, and all lanes were reopened around midnight Saturday. Two other accidents, including one with a fatality, also closed multiple lanes on the freeway that day.
Authorities continue to investigate the crash.
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