North Hollywood: On Thursday, September 28, 2000 at 2:35 a.m., a Nissan driven by Sharrieff Saunders, 25 years of age, a resident of Van Nuys, was traveling eastbound on Vanowen Street at a high rate of speed and rearended another Nissan, which was also eastbound on Vanowen Street. The collision, which occurred just west of the intersection of Bellaire Avenue, caused the second vehicle to instantly burst into flames. The extensive damage trapped the two unidentified occupants and prevented them from escaping the inferno, resulting in their demise.
An area resident attempted to rescue the two, but was driven back by the intense heat of the fire. The driver who had collided with this vehicle also attempted to free the trapped victims, burning himself in the process, prior to fleeing from the scene on foot. He was apprehended by responding officers from North Hollywood Area.
Saunders was arrested and taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and later transferred to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center in critical condition. He was booked for murder with one million-dollar bail. The investigation is still in the early stages and the case will be presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for review on October 2, 2000.
The identities of deceased victims are not available at the time of this press release. The Los Angeles Police Department Valley Traffic Division is handling this investigation.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section 213-485-3586.