Updated at 7 p.m. 9/26/12
Two adults are dead and two of their daughters are in the hospital in critical condition following an accident that took place at about 10:50 a.m. Wednesday morning in Woodland Hills.
According to witnesses, a silver Toyota Rav 4 carrying the family failed to stop at a stop sign after traveling east down a steep section of Califa Street, swerved to miss a car rightfully in the intersection of Califa and Oso Avenue and flipped onto its side, skidded and hit a parked Ford F-250 pickup truck, pushing the truck about 15 feet and partially up onto a sidewalk, according to Capt. Jeff Bert of the Valley Traffic Division.
The small SUV and one-ton truck came to a rest on Califa Street between Oso and Keokuk avenues adjacent to the abandoned Oso Street Elementary School.
Bert said witnesses reported the Rav 4 was traveling at a very high rate of speed. Though Bert said police hadn't yet determined how fast the SUV was traveling, speed does seem to be a factor in the deaths.
"I'm a cop, but before that, I'm a dad with four little daughters and I've seen over and over in my 16 years of experience we can break the law, but we can't break the laws of physics," Bert said. "No matter what car you're driving, if you're driving a tank or a Toyota, if you're going down a hill at a high rate of speed, there's a good chance you or somebody you love is going to get killed."
The adults, Bert said, were sitting in the front of the SUV and the children were in the back. Firefighters had to extricate all four.
Names of the adults, who police said were in their 40s, and the girls, one a teenager and the other grade-school aged, have not yet been released.
Neighbors at the scene called the area streets dangerous due to speeding cars.
"It's an extremely dangerous street. Cars go 50 to 60 miles an hour along here and there are lots of children," said neighborhood resident Andrea Weston.
Weston said people who live in the area have tried to get speed bumps installed in the streets nearby, but had been turned down by the City.
So far, the division has four more fatalities than year to date last year, Bert said, though he did report last year saw the lowest fatality rate in 20 years.
City News Service contributed to this story.