NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A woman who lost two of her granddaughters in a Newport Beach car collision that killed five teens says the driver should never have been behind the wheel.
Police were called to the scene at around 5:20 p.m. Monday after an Infiniti hit a tree and split in half on Jamboree Road and Island Lagoon Drive.
Four of the victims were ejected from the car, and another was burned, authorities said.
Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino identified the victims as: Abdurlrahman M. Alyahyan, 17, a senior at University High School; Nozad Al Hamawendi, 16, a junior at Irvine High School; Cecilia Zamora, 17, a junior at Irvine High; and sisters Robin Cabrera, 17, and Aurora Cabrera, 16, both of Irvine High.
Benilda Samps lost her granddaughters, Robin and Aurora Cabrera, in the crash.
“It’s unbelievable. I mean, it’s hard to accept,” she told CBS2.
She recalled finding out about the incident through a GPS device attached to one of the girls’ cellphones, watching the tracker travel to multiple hospitals and wondering why.
“It ended up with the girls in the Coroner’s Office,” she said.
An investigation into the incident uncovered the driver, Alyahyan, did not have a valid driver’s license, according to the DMV.
The Los Angeles Times reports he was cited in April for violating the terms of his provisional license. A post on an online car forum from a user using the same license plate as the car involved in the crash as a handle, and posting photos of what appears to be that same vehicle, indicated the driver had been involved in three accidents and had been issued five speeding tickets.
“He should have not asked my granddaughters to come with him,” Samps said.
Investigators have said speed was a factor in the crash.
“It was one of the worst I’ve seen in my nearly 30 years,” Newport Beach Fire Department Cpt. Glenn White said at the time of the investigation.
Samps said the family does not have plans to pursue a lawsuit at this time.