- Associated Press - Monday, October 6, 2014

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - An investigation into a fiery car crash that killed five California teenagers was in its early stages Monday and no charges have been filed against the 16-year-old unlicensed driver who survived, authorities said.

Investigators were seeking witnesses to the crash early Saturday in which a white 1995 BMW struck an Interstate 5 guardrail in Orange County, rolled onto an embankment and burst into flames.

Bradley Morales was listed in serious but stable condition with a large skull fracture and internal bleeding, CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital said in a statement.

Denise Almazan, a CHOC Children’s spokeswoman, said Morales was brought to the hospital after the crash.

“It’s too early to say whether or not any criminal charges will be filed,” California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief John Antillon told reporters.

Antillon said he believed speed played a role in the crash shortly after 2 a.m. but could not say how fast the car was going. One of the teens was not wearing a seat belt in the backseat, he said.

The car was registered to someone with the teen’s surname, though the exact relation was unknown, Antillon said. He believes the teen’s parents were aware their son was driving that night.

“Certainly it was an unsafe trip for that many people to be in the backseat of a car,” he said.

The victims included a middle school student and two high school freshmen in the Capistrano Unified School District, said Julie Hatchel, the district’s assistant superintendent for education services.

Grief counselors were made available at the schools, and high school students posted a banner for friends to write notes and tributes, she said.

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday evening and another is planned for Tuesday.

The coroner’s office has not officially released the names of the victims.

In a separate crash, five people were killed Friday night when three vehicles collided and burst into flames on an isolated two-lane road on the edge of Chino in San Bernardino County. The lone survivor was released from the hospital, police spokeswoman Monica Gutierrez said.

The victims included four recent high school graduates in a Chevy truck and a 47-year-old man in a Honda Accord, coroner’s officials and family said.

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