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Speed a factor in Newport Beach crash that killed five, police say

As police continue to investigate a fiery crash in Newport Beach that killed five teens, they have already concluded speeding was involved.

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

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The speed limit on the downhill stretch of Jamboree Road where the Monday crash occurred is 55 mph, Lowe said.

She said the car, an Infiniti, had been heading south on Jamboree Road in the direction of Pacific Coast Highway when it veered off the road and into the center divider.

It struck a tree, ripped apart and burst into flames.

"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. Lowe said the other was taken to a Mission Viejo hospital but could not be resuscitated.

All five victims were teenagers from Irvine, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

The injuries to two of the victims were so severe that the county coroner is using fingerprints to confirm their identities. The victims' names were expected to be released Tuesday afternoon.

"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."

Some evidence of the tragic scene from the previous night remained Tuesday morning.

Yellow police tape remained around a utility pole and news vans were parked nearby. Ripped-out grass and dirt on the road's median tracked the car's path to the tree, which remained standing with its bark stripped bare from the crash.

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