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Two sisters among five teens killed in fiery crash

Highway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersHighway and Road Transportation

The five teenagers killed in a car crash that Orange County officials said was one of the most violent they had ever seen included a pair of high school seniors and two sisters.

Authorities on Tuesday identified the high school students as: Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan, a senior at Irvine’s University High School; Nozad Hamawendi, a junior at Irvine High School; Cecilia Zamora, a junior at Irvine High; and sisters Aurora and Robin Cabrera, a sophomore and a senior, respectively, at Irvine High School.

"There are simply no words to convey the sorrow felt by our staff and our students and our community and nor are there sufficient answers to explain the loss of these vibrant young teenagers," said Terry L. Walker, superintendent of schools in Irvine.

There were no immediate details on where the students were headed early Monday evening when their car spun out of control and slammed into a tree, ripping the Infiniti in two.

Classmates and friends gathered Tuesday along Jamboree Road where the accident occurred to remember their friends.

The driver of the car was remembered as an upbeat person who went out of his way to compliment strangers.

"You never saw that guy frown once," said Aram Yaco, 17, who said he knew the driver as “Nozad.”

One of the passengers in the car, who friends said they knew as “Cecy,” was recalled as a bubbly personality and "one of the happiest people you'll ever meet."

"It was funny when she tried to be mean because she couldn't," classmate Kelly Dunkle said in describing the teen’s effervescent personality.

Police said excessive speed was a contributing factor in the crash, which occurred only a mile from where TapouT founder Charles Lewis was killed in 2009 in a high-speed collision.

As police continue to investigate the crash, they have already concluded that speeding was involved. The posted speed limit on Jamboree is 55 mph.

“Excessive speed was a contributing factor,” Newport Beach police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said Tuesday.

Lowe said the Infiniti was heading south on Jamboree Road in the direction of Pacific Coast Highway when it veered into the center divider.

It struck a tree, ripped in two and burst into flames, authorities said.

"When we arrived, we found what we thought were two vehicles," said Newport Beach fire Capt. Glenn White, who responded to the crash. "One was on fire."

Four people were ejected from the vehicle and another was partially ejected, police said. Four of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The fifth was pronounced dead at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. The hospital is a designated trauma center.

"I've been on duty for almost 30 years, and I've seen some terrible vehicular accidents," White said. "This was, if not the worst, one of the worst I've ever seen."

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lauren.williams@latimes.com 


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