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Instagram Photo Sent Before Fatal Crash Prompts Probe Of Downtown Bar

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SAN GABRIEL (CBSLA.com) — An Instagram photo of four friends with drinks has prompted a state investigation of a Downtown LA bar after two people in the photo were killed in a drunken crash.

Manolo “Simon” Magat, 23, and Joseph Almario, 21, both of San Gabriel, were killed in a suspected DUI crash on the 10 freeway early Tuesday morning. The driver, 22-year-old Christine Meng, and a fourth passenger, 22-year-old Jason Lieu, also both of San Gabriel, survived the crash and were taken to LA County-USC Medical Center.

The crash happened about 1:05 a.m., when Meng failed to negotiate a curve from the eastbound 10 Freeway to the northbound 710 Freeway. The car went over the side of the freeway and went airborne, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Meng suffered major injuries – a broken arm and three broken vertebrae – and faces felony DUI and manslaughter charges once released. Lieu suffered moderate injuries.

Almario was partially ejected from the car, CHP officials said, while Magat slid to the rear of the vehicle. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

instagram fatality Instagram Photo Sent Before Fatal Crash Prompts Probe Of Downtown Bar

The last known photo of Manolo “Simon” Magat, Joseph Almario, Christine Meng and Jason Lieu before a crash killed Magat and Almario. (credit: CBS)

The four friends were at Villains Tavern on Palmetto Street and South Santa Fe Avenue east of Downtown Monday night before the crash. The Instagram photo, sent from Magat’s account, shows the foursome enjoying cocktails, with a caption that reads, “Drrrannnks with the homies”. The photo is geotagged “Villains Tavern” and is tagged with the usernames of Meng and Almario.

It’s not clear if the group went to any other location before the crash. But it’s illegal for bartenders to serve alcohol to anyone who is “obviously intoxicated,” so officials from the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control say they are going to investigate the bar, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

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