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Driver loses control of car during takeover on 6th Street bridge, colliding with multiple cars before fleeing scene

Illegal street takeover ends in crash on new 6th Street Viaduct Bridge
Illegal street takeover ends in crash on new 6th Street Viaduct Bridge 02:34

Street takeovers have become an unwelcome reality of Los Angeles life in recent months, with multiple illegal gatherings breaking out on street corners seemingly every weekend. Those gatherings have often taken a turn for the worse, resulting in multiple fatalities and several other injuries. 

They leave a trail of destruction in their wake, with burnt rubber marks littering roadways, debris from crashed vehicles and the remnants of burnt out fireworks and trash. In early July a man was shot and killed at a street takeover in Compton, just weeks after a pair of women were killed while taking part in a similar event in the same area.

Now, Angelenos are frustrated by the latest string of sideshows that have hit the newest addition to city streets — the 6th Street bridge. The more than half billion dollar project that took over six years to complete has become the recent obsession for street racers, who have taken to flooding the area at all hours of the day to perform illegal driving stunts and drag races, leaving behind graffiti and skid marks.

Yet another street takeover hit the newly-finished bridge Monday evening, prompting an overnight closure of the road after a participant crashed into oncoming traffic and other parked vehicles. 

Video from the scene shows the driver of a white Dodge Challenger Hellcat speeding down the street before swerving and losing control of his vehicle, hitting an oncoming vehicle before colliding with parked cars on the side of the road. The car came to a stop against the barrier that separates the roadway from a bike path on the bridge. 

In the moments following the crash, the driver of the vehicle can be seen in another video, grabbing his belongings before running from the area, leaving the car behind. 

RELATED: Vandals and street takeovers deface new 6th Street Bridge

Witnesses on the scene said the crash happened so quickly they didn't quite know how to react. 

"I just heard a 'bang,' said one woman who was at the takeover Monday evening. "I just run. I just run down the street with everyone else. Out of nowhere I just see that car, crashed against the pole."

"It was a bunch of crazy car people," said another man who saw the crash go down up close. "Then this Challenger was doing a burnout, and then he basically almost hit me, swerved out of the way and hit oncoming traffic and they both spun and almost hit me again."

For Jessica Pugach, the crash was far too close for comfort. 

"At first I was like, 'Oh my god, it's my first time on the bridge and there's gonna be a takeover? Oh my god, that's so cool," she said. "But then no. It wasn't cool, because I almost died."

Pugach was one of the multiple vehicles that the Challenger crashed into as she drove in the opposite direction of the takeover. She detailed how as she headed along in the flow of traffic, she saw the group doing doughnuts, "having fun doing crazy stuff," just moments before the collision.

"I'm really glad to be alive," she said. "I flew, I literally flew. I remember the whole thing, I flew across my car."

As a result, Los Angeles Police Department officers rushed to the scene to shut down the event before it progressed further. They were unsure if the suspect owned the vehicle, and were still searching for him Tuesday morning.

The road was closed overnight to prevent more of the same.

CBS reporters on scene Monday morning saw city crews cleaning the area of debris and trash left behind by onlookers. In the days since the bridge was tagged by graffiti artists, the City's Office of Community Beautification has sent people to clean the surface and return it to the state it was in when it opened a little over a week ago

The bridge is located in Councilman Kevin de León's district, and when CBS reporters reached out to learn more, they learned that a meeting was planned with the Bureau of Engineering on Tuesday to figure a way to make the bridge safer. One local recommended speed bumps.

A number of LAPD patrol cars made their presence known on Tuesday, making frequent appearances in the area as they made their routes.

Footage from the 6th Street bridge on Sunday showed one lone vehicle performing burnouts in the middle of the bridge, blocking traffic in both directions.

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