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2 Orange County Street Races End in 4 Deaths

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four men were killed in two weekend car crashes that apparently involved illegal racing, authorities said Sunday. The dead ranged in age from 17 to 29.

A race early Sunday morning between a Chevy Camaro and a Ford Mustang ended in death for Vahey Shahinian, 17, of Downey, the California Highway Patrol said.

According to witnesses, the cars were weaving in and out of traffic at speeds nearing 100 m.p.h. on the eastbound Riverside Freeway. As the cars approached Imperial Highway in Anaheim, the Mustang’s driver cut in front of the Camaro and slammed on the brakes, CHP officials said. Shahinian swerved the Camaro to avoid the Mustang and lost control.

The Camaro ricocheted off a guardrail and a light pole and plunged down a 30-foot embankment, CHP officials said. Shahinian was killed instantly. Passenger Chris Sarkissian, 15, of Anaheim Hills was treated for cuts and bruises. Both wore seat belts, officials said.

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The CHP is looking for the driver of the Mustang who fled.

Late Saturday, three people were killed when they decided to race some friends to a party, Santa Ana police said.

The friends were speeding south on Grand Avenue in a Dodge and a Buick, when one car--police were unsure which--hit a third car and sent it spinning out of control. The driver of the third car was unhurt.

The Dodge and the Buick kept racing down Grand Avenue and both drivers lost control and struck a power pole, police said.

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The Dodge ripped apart. Three of the four people inside were killed and the fourth was seriously injured. Police identified two of the dead as Alberto Valdez, 29, and Abraham Perez, 26. The third was unidentified.

According to police, the three occupants of the second car later turned themselves in. Valentine Cruz Rodriguez, 24, was booked on felony hit-and-run driving charges.


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