IRVINE ( — A fiery crash that killed two drivers early Sunday morning on the 405 Freeway in Irvine was likely caused by one of the victims traveling the wrong way, authorities said.

California Highway Patrol reports that the crash occurred at approximately 4 a.m. on northbound I-405, near the 55 Freeway.

According to CHP, a silver Mustang traveling south in the northbound lanes slammed head-on into a black-colored SUV that was going north. The SUV burst into flames. Good Samaritans attempted to the pull both drivers out. However, by the time paramedics arrived on the scene, the victims had been pronounced dead.

There were no passengers in either vehicle.

The Mustang’s driver was later identified as 29-year-old Jose Garcia Lopez of Fullerton. The driver of the SUV was not immediately named. What caused the Mustang to travel the wrong way remains under investigation.

“Wrong-way drivers in this area aren’t terribly common, but they do occur, usually late at night,” CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz said. “And unfortunately, usually nine times out of 10, it is alcohol-related.”

I-405 north was reduced to one lane for several hours while emergency responders cleared the scene. It was fully reopened around 8:30 a.m.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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