A man was killed when the luxury sports car he was driving slammed into a palm tree — splitting the vehicle in half — during a pursuit by police in Newport Beach that reached speeds up to 100 mph early Tuesday.
Newport Beach police began pursuing the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG as it was traveling south on Balboa Boulevard on the Balboa Peninsula shortly after 1 a.m.
It is not clear why officers began following the vehicle. The driver, a man in his late 20s, had been involved in an argument with someone at a nearby bar before the pursuit began, said Officer Florentino Olivera, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.
The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes and ended when the car failed to navigate a turn and crashed into a palm tree on Balboa Boulevard near 24th Street, Olivera said.
The crash left a large debris field scattered across the road. Photographs from the scene show the car mangled near the tree with the vehicle’s engine lying about 100 feet away.
“That shows you he was going at a high rate of speed and the impact was very, very hard,” Olivera said.
It was not immediately clear whether alcohol was a factor in the crash. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A female passenger who has not been identified was taken to a hospital with major injuries, Olivera said.