BAKERSFIELD - A young Bakersfield man was killed early Monday morning in a fiery car crash. Angel Cabrera, 20, was part of a local racing club and friends said he had a love for fast cars and a need for speed.
"I was going down Gosford and I was about to hit Ming and I just saw this car coming in my rearview and I got into the right hand lane," said Lauren Cook, who witnessed the crash.
"This car just flew past me. I was going 55. He just zoomed by. My whole car shook when he went past me," she continued.
Lauren Cook said she slowed down as Cabrera flew past her around 2:30 Monday morning as he raced through the Ming Avenue intersection.
"I saw him hit his brakes. His brake lights came on and that's when the swerving started, like he tried to slam his brakes but had lost control of the car," said Cook.
Police said Cabrera hit a tree in the center divider. His car burst into flames. The crash left Cabrera's car mangled and burned. "I honestly thought it was a motorcycle when I first saw it. It was a shock see his car like that," said Deborah Rodriguez.
The tree Cabrera hit is now just a stump. Friends think Cabrera was on his way home, driving too fast, when he lost control of his white Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
"It comes stocked high performance, so it's a pretty fast car rolling off the line," explained Cynthia Napier.
Cabrera was the youngest member of the Xclusive Racing Club in Bakersfield. Friends said he raced for the rush. "It's the adrenaline," explained Rodriguez.
Friends and family walked down the center divider Monday afternoon and picked up pieces left behind from Cabrera's car. They pulled some of those pieces out of a tree. They also set up a small memorial with flowers.
"Last time I saw him, we were at Checkers and he put on a Frank Ocean song and started dancing on top of his car. He just made us laugh," noted Rodriguez.
Friends said Cabrera was driving on worn tires. "Some friends told him I think your tires are getting bald yesterday," explained Briana Martinez.
Cabrera's friends said sprinklers on the center divider may have also played a part in the crash.
"I actually lost control out here one time before with the water out here. Usually stuff like that can happen and that's probably what happened. That's what we're thinking," said Manuel Farco.
Police don't know if alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.
Cabrera was arrested last year for driving under the influence of marijuana. He pleaded 'no contest' in court to a reduced charge of reckless driving.