LA VERNE (CBSLA) — Two people are dead and several people hospitalized in critical condition after a short police pursuit ended with a head-on crash into an uninvolved car early Friday in La Verne.

The crash happened just before 9 p.m. in the intersection of White Avenue and College Lane, just a quarter-mile from where La Verne police officers had tried to stop a red Acura Integra for failing to stop at a stop sign and a red light.

“It was a very short pursuit, less than probably 20 seconds,” La Verne police Chief Nick Paz said. “The officer was doing his job. He saw the guy run a stop sign, and that’s the only reason he was going to stop him, pull him over and probably give him a ticket and let him go.”

(credit: CBS)

A chase ended with a horrific, head-on crash into a black Toyota Corolla. The drivers of both cars were fatally injured in the crash.

The driver of the Corolla was identified as 68-year-old Marlet Reyes of La Verne. Reyes was reportedly just pulling out of her neighborhood when her car was struck by the Integra.

Her longtime friend and roommate Thelma was one of her passengers and is fighting for her life, Reyes’ niece Claudia Perez said.

“We’re not sure if she’s going to pull through,” she said. “We’re praying to God. Her family is praying.”

The two women were like sisters, according to Perez. When the pair were not caring for Reyes’ elderly mother, they were at church, Perez said.

The loss is even more tragic considering Reyes just came home from open-heart surgery.

“It’s all just a bad dream,” she said.

Another passenger in the Corolla and three in the Integra were also taken to a local hospital. Three are in critical condition, a statement from La Verne police said.

The driver of the Integra and the other passengers have not been identified.

La Verne police say the crash is being investigated by California Highway Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team. Anyone with information about the crash can call the La Verne Police Department at (909) 596-1913.