Three young people have died after a high speed “race” on London’s North Circular this morning ended with their car crashing into a lorry and bursting into flames.
Police are investigating claims that the vehicle, a Subaru Impreza carrying three men in their teens or early twenties, was one of a number of cars travelling westbound at high speed on the A406 shortly after midnight this morning.
The Metropolitan Police said the car hit the central reservation after the driver had apparently lost control, sending the vehicle careering towards oncoming traffic.
The Subaru collided with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction before bursting into flames, police said.
According to reports in the Evening Standard, one witness said it looked like the car had been fitted with a nitrous oxide booster to make it go faster – famously used in the Fast & Furious film series.
Reports said a “group of cars” was racing when the incident happened, and a second car – a Vauxhall Astra – was also involved in the crash. Police said its two male occupants were taken to hospital along with the lorry driver to be treated for minor injuries.
Scotland Yard later said the men from the Astra had been arrested – one after he was discharged, the other while in his hospital bed.
Residents told the Standard they heard a huge explosion as the crash took place at 12.25am on Bowes Road near the junction with Natal Road.
Some rushed out of their homes carrying fire extinguishers but were unable to save the people inside.
Witness Marios Sofianou, 47, told the newspaper how he and his parents watched helplessly as the occupants of the car burned.
He said: “We heard a big bang. There were at least two cars that were racing, three guys in one and I think one guy in the other car.
“Then the car on the outer lane hit the middle, flew over there and hit a lorry. One car came up here unharmed.
“The three over there we had to watch them burn, it was horrible.
“People were running with fire extinguishers trying to put it out, the people in the car were only young.”
“It was horrible.”
Both lanes of the North Circular were closed this morning as investigators examined the scene, and the area was cordoned off until around 8.30am.
Officers from the Road Death Investigation Unit are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen any cars travelling in a group, at high speed, on the A406.
Anyone with information should call the Chadwell Heath investigation unit 0208 597 4874.