COMMERCE (CBSLA.com) — A reward for information leading to the driver of a car police say was racing on the 5 Freeway in Commerce, leading to a pileup that killed three people and kept the state’s busiest highway closed for hours, was increased Wednesday to $35,000.
One suspect, 35-year-old Dealio Lockhart of Whittier, is already in custody in connection with the fiery triple fatal crash that happened in the overnight hours of Feb. 27. But California Highway Patrol investigators say a second suspect, who was driving a late-model black or dark blue Dodge Charger with tinted windows, was racing Lockhart that night and fled the scene of the crash.
According to the CHP, Lockhart clipped a UPS tractor trailer as he tried to pass a slower-moving vehicle ahead of him. The driver of the UPS truck, Richard Scott Treadway, lost control, crossed all southbound lanes of traffic and was forced into the northbound lanes, causing a chain reaction collision that involved several more cars, overturning and catching fire with Treadway still inside.
Treadway, along with friends and coworkers Michelle Littlefield and Brian Lewandowski – who were in a 2014 Nissan Sentra struck by the truck – were all pronounced dead at the scene. Four others were hurt in the crash, suffering injuries ranging from moderate to major.
The chain reaction crash left the freeway – the most heavily-traveled highway in California – littered with broken and burning cars and metal debris for hundreds of feet on both sides. The 5 Freeway on both sides was closed throughout the day to allow first responders to help the victims and for detectives to document the scene.
The $35,000 reward, for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the second racing suspect, is being contributed by several organizations and agencies and includes $10,000 from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, UPS and Teamsters Local 396, respectively; and $5,000 from the Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.
Anyone with information about the second suspect or the unidentified Dodge Charge can call East Los Angeles California Highway Patrol Investigator Frank Fonseca at (323) 890-4600 or Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide bureau Detectives Marc Boskovich and Louie Aguilera at (323) 890-5500.