(Jan. 2, 2006, updated Jan. 3) -- LBPD says a woman died this afternoon (Jan. 2) when her SUV exited the 22 freeway at 7th St., took the Studebaker Rd. offramp (which circles into a signal-controlled T-bone intersection at north-sound Studebaker Rd.), turned left to go south on Studebaker but for reasons still to be determined went through a chain link fence fronting the Los Cerritos Channel, overturned and submerged.
The vehicle was submerged and LBFD divers were in the water when LBReport.com arrived on scene. LBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. David Cannan says good Samaritans initially dove into the tidal/flood control channel trying to rescue the woman, as did LBPD officers. Divers ultimately freed the driver, who was transported to a hospital but did not survive.
The cause of the accident is under investigation. The events took place at about [update] 1:42 p.m. [time source: LBPD Jan. 3 release] and it was not believed to be raining at the time of the accident...although it did rain earlier in the day and gusty winds had also been blowing.
LBPD and LBFD responded in large numbers. L.A. TV news helicopters hovered over the University Park Estates area (Studebaker at Loynes Dr.) for much of the afternoon.
[update] In a written release issued Jan. 3, LBPD identified the driver as Amanda Carter, 16, of LB...who had only received her driver's license two months ago.
LBPD's release said the "cause of the accident is still under investigations, however, the wet roadway conditions from recent rains, coupled with the unsafe speed of the vehicle may have contributed to the cause of the accident."