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South Tryon wreck leaves 4 dead overnight

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/01/07/39/orKLl.Em.138.JPG|237
    - T. Ortega Gaines
    A lamp post lay in the median at the entrance to Steel creek crossing shopping center where four people died after hitting a power pole. T. Ortega Gaines, ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/01/07/45/ijj3e.Em.138.JPG|237
    - T. Ortega Gaines
    Tire tread marks in the grass in front of the 7-11 where the car left the road traveling south in Tryon street and hit a utility pole than the shopping center lamp post before landing in some landscaped shrubs. T. ORTEGA GAINES, ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/01/08/45/cSr0i.Em.138.JPG|237
    - T. Ortega Gaines
    Personal items found near the scene of an overnight wreck Nov. 1 2013 on South Tryon Street that left four people dead. T. ORTEGA GAINES, ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Four men were killed overnight when the car in which they were riding slammed into power poles and a sign and then overturned on South Tryon Street in southwest Charlotte.

Police investigators say it appears as if the driver of the 1995 Lexus SC300 was speeding before the crash.

It was the highest death toll in a Charlotte crash in recent history.

The victims were identified Friday as Arthur Tyrale Coleman, 32, the driver; and passengers Gabrial Sullivan, 32; Robert Clark Jowett, 57; and Juan Valentino Simmons, 50.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the victims were in a 1995 Lexus SC300 that apparently was speeding about 12:40 a.m. on southbound South Tryon Street, a short distance north of Steele Creek Road. Police say the driver of the car apparently lost control of the vehicle, and it hit the curb near Rivergate Parkway, in front of the Steele Creek Crossing Shopping Center.

Police Sgt. David Sloan said the car went up a small embankment, hit a utility pole, and then went airborne. The Lexus slammed into a streetlight and hit a brick sign at the shopping center entrance, before flipping. The car landed on its roof.

Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said firefighters from Station 37, a short distance south of the scene, arrived within minutes of the crash. They found the car overturned.

“Firefighters were able to reach two victims trapped in the car, but they did not survive,” Brisley said.

Other rescue crews discovered minutes later that two other men were lying nearby. One of those men was dead, and the other victim died a short time later, authorities say. Those men apparently were thrown from the vehicle.

The speed limit in that area is 45 mph.

Names of the victims have not been released, but police say the car was driven by a 32-year-old man. The other victims were 32, 50 and 57 years old, according to police.

South Tryon Street was closed for much of the night, but police were able to reopen the road around 5:30 a.m.

Police ask that anyone with information about the crash contact detectives at 704-432-2169.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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