HomeCity NewsPolice Investigate Fatal Collision on Vanowen

Police Investigate Fatal Collision on Vanowen

A white Toyota Scion was destroyed and its driver killed after a collision with another vehicle sent the two cars careening into an electrical pole and fire hydrant.

Burbank police are still investigating the fatal traffic collision, which occurred on Vanowen Street on May 18.

Police and paramedics responded at about 11:15 p.m. to the crash west of Hollywood Way and found an adult male in the roadway who had been ejected from the Scion. He had suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers located the second vehicle involved, a white Toyota Corolla, which was occupied by a driver. The driver suffered moderate injuries and was treated at the scene.

According to a preliminary investigation, both cars were traveling eastbound on Vanowen Street at high speeds, police said. As the vehicles approached Hollywood Way, they collided and careened into an electrical pole and fire hydrant. The force of the collision knocked the pole down and sheared the hydrant. The driver of the Corolla was interviewed by investigators.

Several media organizations have reported that the incident was a street race, but police said they have made no such conclusion.

“There are a couple of irregularities with that. We do reconstructions of the scene to determine things like speed, which we have not concluded yet,” said Lt. John Pfommer, of Burbank Police Department’s Traffic Bureau.

Investigators have also not determined whether alcohol or drugs were factors in the collision.

The accident is the third traffic fatality of the year, all occurring over the past six weeks.

Last year there were four total traffic deaths, and two the year before. In 2021, Burbank saw seven deaths, and three in 2020.

Pfommer said the city averages about three traffic fatalities a year, with the exception of 2021, as drivers took back to the streets after the pandemic.

Illegal street racing is not more common in Burbank than neighboring cities, Pfommer told the Leader.

“Some of our neighboring cities have endured organized street racing, street takeovers and illegal street racing events. The city of Burbank has had limited impromptu racing events; however, we do not have organized street racing events or street takeovers.” 

The man who died has not been identified. BPD is working with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office to identify him and notify his next of kin.

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision is asked to contact Burbank Detective Ryan Murphy at (818) 238-3103.

First published in the May 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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