In what one resident called complete carnage, a multi-vehicle traffic collision on Monday at the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Willow Street left four cars heavily damaged when a Jeep crashed into another car and went airborne, rolling into other vehicles, according to officers at the Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD).
There were no fatalities, and three people were transported to the hospital– two of them with extensive injuries, SHPD Sgt. Kelli Brown told the Signal Tribune Thursday morning. The nature of the injuries is confidential.
The Jeep, going northbound on Cherry Avenue, crashed into a vehicle at the intersection of Willow Street, which caused the Jeep to go airborne. Brown said the vehicle flipped and rolled onto two other cars that were stationary in a turning lane.
Although she said the exact cause of the collision is still under investigation, there was suspicion of DUI at the scene. Details were not available, and Brown said confirmation about the DUI will be available when toxicology reports are in.
Moreover, a suspect in a domestic-violence incident earlier that day in Long Beach was said to be involved in the accident.
Nancy Pratt, a Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) spokesperson, told the Signal Tribune on Tuesday that officers were responding to a domestic-violence incident at 10th Street and Walnut Avenue on Aug. 28 at about 10:05am, before the traffic collision.
As officers were responding to the call, the suspect fled the scene and, minutes later, became involved in the multi-vehicle traffic accident on Cherry and Willow.
The suspect was in the hospital recovering from his injuries at press time, and Pratt said Long Beach officers are still actively investigating the domestic-violence incident and will follow up with the suspect when he is released from care.
It is not immediately known if the suspect caused the accident or if that person was the same individual who aroused suspicion for a DUI.
Reginald Payne, a local resident, was on his way to Costco with his son when the Jeep crashed into the car in front of him, causing that vehicle to back into him.
“We heard a loud bang, we saw [the Jeep], airborne, going over our car,” he told the Signal Tribune at the scene on Monday. “We’re blessed. We thought he was going to come down onto our windshield, but, luckily, he cleared us. If it wouldn’t have been for this car [in front of us], we probably would have caught it.”
He did not know the immediate status of the other passengers.
“My son and I are blessed,” he repeated. “We are truly blessed.”
In a phone interview Monday, Robert Miller, who lives near where the incident occurred, saw the scene and said it was the worst traffic accident he had ever seen.
“It’s devastation in our neighborhood,” Miller said. “The carnage was devastating. It was amazing. I was still there when people were still being transported […] This is an ordeal of substantial consequences, and it’s very telling about the people that are climbing into cars.”
The SHPD informed residents Monday through Nixle, an emergency-alert system, that various intersections would be closed for several hours as a result of the collision. The intersections were reopened late afternoon that same day, according to the police alert.
Steven Noble, SHPD senior police officer, said in an email Wednesday that the police department’s Traffic Bureau team was still investigating the incident. Attempts were made to contact Sgt. Russ Hefte and Lt. Ron Sagmit– both affiliated with the Traffic Bureau Department– but they both did not respond by deadline.