SAN BERNARDINO: Chase leads to fatal crash, freeway closure

“The vehicle hit a pillar to the transition road and caught fire – exploded, basically,” CHP Officer Jaci Parent said from the Traffic Management Center in Fontana.

The Corvette crashed before dawn Wednesday, Sept. 12, triggering a 4:44 a.m. Sigalert at I-210 and Highway 330 near the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. The victim was a woman or a man with long hair, officers said.

San Bernardino County coroner’s victims have released no information about the victim or the incident.

Investigating officers closed the eastbound lanes of Highway 210 at Highway 330 and the transition road from southbound Highway 330 to eastbound I-210 until after 11 a.m.

The chase began at 4:07 a.m. when the Corvette entered I-210E via a closed on-ramp at Baldwin Avenue in the Los Angeles County city of Arcadia and onto the freeway, which officers say was completely closed in that area due to Caltrans work.

Officers said they didn’t know who owned the car or whether it had been reported stolen.

At speeds exceeding 100 mph, the chase continued east through San Bernardino.

The wreck happened at 4:29 a.m. when the Corvette’s driver lost control on a curve where the eastbound lanes turn south toward Redlands, said Officer Leon Lopez. At that point, Lopez said, one CHP officer was in pursuit.

Preliminary findings show that the sports car veered into the center median, skid back across the eastbound lanes, ran off the roadway and began to overturn on a dirt berm when the car slammed into a pillar supporting a freeway transition road.

“Upon striking the pillar, it immediately engulfed in flame,” Lopez said.

The usually gray pillar and underside of the transition road were left blackened by the soot.

“By the time the fire department put out the flames,” Lopez said, “the (driver) was … deceased.”

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