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FONTANA, Calif. -- A 15-year-old driver, his younger brother and a young neighborhood friend were killed when they fled at speeds up to 90 mph and then crashed into a house after a police car pulled them over.
California Highway Patrol officials said an officer had stopped the car for running a red light Wednesday evening in Fontana. But the driver sped off as the officer walked toward the car.
The driver lost control after a brief chase, crashing through a cinderblock wall and into a house in the working-class suburb east of Los Angeles.
"The wall just started opening up to the ceiling," homeowner Edward Pimentel said. "We thought earthquake. We picked up the kids, ran out the front door."
Authorities said the boys were ages 15, 11 and 9. The driver, identified as Devon Keeten, 15, and Moses Guzman, 11, were ejected from the car and died at the scene. Devon's 9-year-old brother, Dylan Green, who was in the back wearing a seatbelt, died at a hospital.
The car was believed to belong to a member of the driver's family, and the three were apparently joyriding, California Highway Patrol Capt. Esmeralda Falat said.
The brothers' grandmother, Lillie Green, said their mother was at work at the time of the crash.
She said joyriding was out of character for her grandson.
"This is not like him. I don't know what happened," she said. "I am never going to find out what happened. That's the way it is."
A family friend said the two older boys were best friends and that Devon often looked after his younger brother.
"The reason why the younger brother was in the car was because he always took his baby brother everywhere with him," Tomeka George said. "He always looked after his brother."
No one in the house was injured, though the car was high enough in the air at impact to crush the corner of the house's roof and shatter a wall. A city code enforcment officer has tagged the badly damaged house as uninhabitable.
Pimentel, 46, said he was sitting in his living room with his wife and two grandchildren when they heard a rumbling and then a big bang. He said that after they ran out, "there was a dead body right by the front door" and another about 20 feet away.
The wrecked car "looked like a tin can," he added. He saw the hood of the car lying in front of a window and other parts of the car strewn along the sidewalk.