Driver charged with murder in alleged street-racing crash on 5 Freeway that killed 3
A California Highway Patrol investigator takes photographs at the scene of Saturday’s multivehicle crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce that killed three people.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Authorities say a Dodge Challenger that was racing another vehicle caused the fatal accident. Its driver was arrested.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Investigators gather evidence after Saturday’s crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Debris is strewn across the 5 Freeway in Commerce after three people were killed in a fiery multivehicle crash. A motorist who told authorities that he had been racing was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
CHP investigators at the scene of Saturday’s multivehicle crash.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
CHP investigators and coroner’s officials gather evidence from Saturday’s fatal crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The driver of one of the two vehicles suspected of street racing last weekend on a Southern California freeway and causing a multi-vehicle crash that left three people dead was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, prosecutors said.
In addition to three counts of murder, Dealio Lockhart, 35, was also charged with four counts of reckless driving on a highway causing injury, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Lockhart was allegedly driving his Dodge Challenger on the 5 Freeway near Commerce and racing the driver of a Dodge Charger shortly after midnight Saturday, prosecutors said.
One of the suspected street racers lost control of their vehicle and slammed into a UPS truck, which flew into the air, landed on the center divider, smashed into traffic and exploded.
The UPS truck collided with a Nissan, shearing off its top, before hitting a red Ford Explorer. The charred wreckage prompted a shutdown of both directions of the freeway for about 24 hours.
Two passengers in the Nissan -- Brian Lewandowski, 18, and Michelle Littlefield, 19 -- were killed. The driver of the UPS truck, Scott Treadway, 52, also died. Four others, including two people riding in the Nissan, were injured. Their identities were not released.
Authorities are continuing to search for the driver of the Dodge Charger, who fled and remains at large.
Lockhart, a resident of Whittier, was arrested at the scene. Officer Alex Rubio of the California Highway Patrol previously said that Lockhart admitted to investigators that he had been racing.
He’s scheduled to appear in a downtown L.A. courtroom on Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors are asking for his bail to be set at $3.2 million.
If convicted of all charges, Lockhart faces up to life in state prison.
For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.
Times staff writers Matt Stevens and Frank Shyong contributed to this report.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.