Witnesses said the driver of a black Jeep Cherokee was traveling at high speeds going eastbound on Valley Boulevard when he sideswiped a Chevrolet Silverado near the intersection of Willow Avenue. After the initial crash, the suspect continued on Valley Boulevard and was seen swerving on the roadway.
Officials with the Rialto Police Department said a short time later, the Jeep crashed into the back of a Kia Sorento that was stopped at a red light at Riverside Avenue just before 6:30 p.m.
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Investigators said the Jeep was going so fast, that the momentum carried the Sorento into the back of a Honda. The Honda and Kia erupted into flames upon impact. Nearby witnesses rushed in to help and attempted to knock down the flames while responding officers attempted to rescue the victims from the burning cars.
Three people were declared dead at the scene, including the driver who authorities said triggered the crash, identified as 35-year-old Paul Larios of San Bernardino. The other victims were 33-year-old Ashley Gilroy of Highland, the driver of the Kia; and eight-year-old Marlee Maldonado, the back seat passenger in the Kia. The two of them became trapped in the wreckage. In addition, two others were taken to a hospital. The severity of their injuries is unknown and the names of the victims have not been released.
The official cause of the crash is under investigation. However, Rialto PD investigators said speed and alcohol were factors.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Dan Smith at 909-644-6025. Those who wish to remain anonymous can submit information through WeTip at 800-782-7463.