ORANGE, Calif. - Three people were killed and four others injured in a fiery, single-vehicle crash Saturday in Orange.
At about 2:45 a.m., an officer conducting a traffic stop at Lincoln Avenue and Glassell Street spotted a vehicle heading southbound on Glassell Street and "tried to catch up with it" but lost sight of it, said Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.
When the officer arrived at Glassell Street and Taft Avenue, he spotted a car engulfed in flames.
According to the officer on the scene, seven bodies were ejected from the vehicle. A teenage boy, a teenage girl and 26-year-old Garden Grove resident Gustavo Castro were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver -- 19-year-old Azarie Fuller of Exeter, in Tulare County -- was taken to a hospital along with a teenage boy and a teenage girl, and all listed in critical condition, McMullin said. Another teenage boy was hospitalized with moderate injuries.
"Witness statements along with evidence at the scene, which included a suspected nitrous oxide tank and balloons, indicate alcohol and drugs were likely a factor in addition to speeding," McMullin said.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called "laughing gas," is a sedative often used by doctors and dentists, and is sometimes abused as an intoxicant.
Police believe the occupants were not wearing seat belts, as there were seven people in a car meant to seat five.
Police said the vehicle hit guardrails and signal lights near a railroad crossing, causing the tracks to close between Anaheim Canyon and Orange.
Orange police urged anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at 714-744-7444.