Two teens die after illegal street race

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008


(08-12) 07:49 PDT CASTRO VALLEY --

Two Castro Valley teenagers died early today when their Corvette crashed into a power pole at high speed and flipped over shortly after witnesses saw the car racing a BMW on the street, authorities said.

The victims, an 18-year-old man who was driving the 1997 Corvette and his passenger, a 17-year-old girl, were pronounced dead at the scene, the California Highway Patrol said. Their names were not immediately released.

The crash was reported at 12:43 a.m. on westbound Dublin Canyon Road a half-mile east of Paloverde Road. CHP officers determined that the Corvette had been traveling at high speed when it skidded 300 feet, left the road and hit a power pole, splintering it into several pieces, said CHP Officer Steve Creel.

The car then hit a fence bordering Interstate 580, slid another 100 feet and landed on its roof, the CHP said. The Corvette crushed the teenage victims, Creel said.

Investigators believe the Corvette had been racing a dark blue 2004 BMW M3 sometime before the crash on eastbound Dublin Canyon Road. It was unclear how much time elapsed between the street race and the crash - which occurred in the opposite direction - or whether the Corvette was still racing at the time the driver lost control, the CHP said.

"We don't know if the Corvette too off by itself at high speed or whether it was actively racing," Creel said.

A third car was apparently at the scene of the street race, Creel said.

Although Dublin Canyon Road has seen its share of serious crashes, the area is not known for street racing, Creel said. The teenagers apparently decided on the "spur of the moment" to race on the street, drawn by its easy access and the fact that there few cars on the road at that early hour, he said.

"It just reinforces the idea of why we have such a proactive stance against any type of street racing, not the fact that it might happen, but it does happen and we end up picking up the pieces," Creel said. "These two were young and had a life ahead of them that was terminated because of a bad decision."

The CHP has called out its Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, which looks into serious crashes, to examine the crash site. Dublin Canyon Road will likely be closed between Eden Canyon Road and Schaefer Ranch Road for most of the day.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.