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Makeshift Memorial Gathers Crowd at BMW Crash Site in Studio City (VIDEO & PHOTOs)

As many as 80 people reportedly gathered the night after the accident. Friends identified the other two on Twitter.

A makeshift memorial of candles and flowers lined the crash site near Tujunga Avenue and Ventura Boulevard whereSunday morning after celebrating a friend's 21st birthday party.

About 80 people gathered at about 11 p.m. at the scene, causing traffic congestion and the Los Angeles Police had to break up the gathering.

(See some video coverage of the crash above and also click here for the CBS local channel coverage, Yahoo News and see the KTLA coverage here.)

As of Sunday night, the Los Angeles Coroner's office positively identified only one of the accident victim's, Jason Shmelnik, 25.

The other two victims were not identified by authorities, but Twitter and other media reports named Pavel "Pasha" Volodkovich and Ekaterina Botvinieva, as the others in the car.

At 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, two young women who called themselves "close friends" of Botvinieva were holding vigil at the accident scene, but not giving their names to TV cameras at the scene.

Police said the three were killed in a fiery crash of a BMW that smashed into the  at 11412 Ventura Blvd.

Stunned friends stood on the sidewalk as the car smoldered, and one told a television reporter he felt "a lot of guilt because I ... because I saw that he was too drunk to drive." Alexander Polansky told KTLA "something inside of me said ... he's an adult, he'll get there, but the result is very unfortunate that he didn't."

The BMW flew off Ventura Boulevard and Tujunga Avenue at about 3:35 a.m., hit a tree and sheared a natural gas line and was quickly engulfed in flames, according to Sgt. Donald Kelly at the Los Angeles police Valley Traffic Division.

The silver-colored BMW sedan came to rest against a wall, a fire department spokesman said.

Ventura Boulevard remained closed five hours after the crash to accommodate the police investigation.

The planned along the boulevard was rerouted.

(See more photos of the scene above.)


 

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Peter Mould December 19, 2012 at 03:14 AM
It upsets me to see lives easily lost like this. If this was really the result of drunk driving, two innocent lives (and one guilty life) have been lost. Still, the investigation was still pending when this article was published. I hope there was another reason for the crash, and that the loved ones are able to move on from this. My heart is with them. After reports of the failures of BMW swirl flaps, I wonder if this could be the cause. However, if it had been checked out by professionals regarding this issue, it should not be a problem. - http://www.pmwltd.co.uk

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