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Alcohol, speed believed factors in fiery Centre Street crash

Click to play video 'Speed and alcohol factors in fiery crash on Centre St.: Calgary police' Speed and alcohol factors in fiery crash on Centre St.: Calgary police
WATCH: Calgary police suggest excessive speed and alcohol were factors in a crash that sent two young men to hospital Friday morning. Sarah Offin reports. – Oct 2, 2020

Calgary police say both speed and alcohol are being investigated as factors in a crash on Centre Street North on Friday that sent two men to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The collision happened on Centre Street North between 31 and 32 avenues at around 3:30 a.m.

Police said the car, which was travelling south, rolled over and caught fire after hitting a light standard.

“The vehicle, we believe, first impacted a parked vehicle causing some minor damage. The vehicle continued to proceed southbound coming in contact with a light standard, then started to rotate, sheering off a tree and then going through a yard, almost impacting a house,” Sgt. Steve Campbell said.

Click to play video 'Alcohol and speed believed to be factors in fiery crash on Centre Street' Alcohol and speed believed to be factors in fiery crash on Centre Street
Alcohol and speed believed to be factors in fiery crash on Centre Street – Oct 2, 2020

Police later said the vehicle travelled through several front yards, taking down trees, shrubs and wooden fences. It eventually came to a rest on the passenger side, after becoming airborne and rolling and flipping several times on an empty plot of land.

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Campbell said the two occupants were pinned in the vehicle when emergency crews arrived. Firefighters had to extinguish the flames and then cut the roof off the car to extract them.

Emergency crews respond to a single vehicle crash on Centre Street North near 32 Avenue on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.
Emergency crews respond to a single vehicle crash on Centre Street North near 32 Avenue on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Global News

Paramedics transported two 20-year-old men to hospital in critical condition.

Campbell said investigators believe the vehicle was likely travelling faster than 100 km/h.

“The message is very clear, I mean alcohol is obviously a factor here — and speed,” Campbell said. “These are residential streets and there is absolutely no need or reason for anybody to be drinking and driving, and to be driving these speeds on residential streets.

“Even though it was early in the morning, there are still people that are going to and from work and people on the roadways all through the day and night.”

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Ifedun Awe-Kolade lives near the crash site, and told Global News she heard what she described as an explosion, ran to her balcony and called 911 as she surveyed the scene.

“I started hearing, ‘Help me, help!'” she said, before jumping into action.

When she got to the vehicle, another man was trying to pull the young men out, but the fire was getting bigger.

They both started knocking on doors, eventually finding a fire extinguisher at a woman’s home, and worked to extinguish the flames.

“Of course I was scared for myself, I have kids. I want to be here for my kids,” she said. “But you know, you just have the instinct.

“I was just really worried for them. I was happy we were able to put out the fire.”

Anyone with information on the crash can call the Calgary Police Service’s non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.

– With files from Sarah Offin and Carolyn Kury de Castillo