Michael Hastings-The Witnesses

Mozza-SW corner of Highland and Melrose

Mozza-SW corner of Highland and Melrose

But Wait, There’s More!

On the south west corner of Melrose and Highland, there is a pizza place, Mozza, and Mozza has a security camera.  A  local resident whom I had interviewed had told me that the Mozza security tape had been turned over to police.  Nothing more was said of it.

However, a few days ago Michael Krikorian, former LA Times crime reporter and the boyfriend of the woman who owns Pizzeria Mozza, gave a statement to David J. Krajicek.  Apparently, he was able to view the tape before it was given to the police.  He arrived at the restaurant just four and a half hours after the Hastings crash.  Here is what he had to say:

“Shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, I was walking with my girlfriend, Nancy Silverton, to get my car, which I had left the night before at her restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza, at Highland and Melrose avenues. Walking west on Melrose, we noticed crime scene tape as we arrived at Highland. Just to the south, a wrecked and charred car was being pulled away from a palm tree in the median.

We lifted the yellow tape and walked down the sidewalk to get access to the alley leading to the lot where my car was parked. A Los Angeles police officer stopped us. Nancy explained she owned the restaurant and I identified myself as a reporter. The officer let us walk on and gave a quick rundown: A man had driven into the tree at 4:30 that morning. He was dead.

My first thought was that another early morning L.A. drunk had killed himself. I told the officer that a security camera located outside the front door of the pizzeria probably captured the crash.

As we talked to the police, a Mozza employee named Gary, who has been staying at a small apartment above the restaurant, approached us to say that he had heard the crash.

“I heard a ‘whoosh,’ then what sounded like a bump and then an explosion,” he said. “I thought the building had been hit.”

He said he rushed down and saw the car ablaze. Gary listened as two men who claimed to have witnessed the crash told police the car had sped through a red light at Melrose.  (He may be referring to Jose here.)

Later, when the pizzeria manager arrived at work, we watched the security camera footage.  There’s no wonder it was a fatality. The crash ended with a hellish explosion and fire. The officer, watching the video with us, was as stunned as we were. He said, “I have never seen a car explode like that.”

Soon, a flatbed truck with the burned Mercedes CL 250 aboard drove slowly by, going north in the southbound lanes of Highland. The front of the car, particularly on the driver’s side, was badly damaged. I snapped a couple of poor photos with my iPhone.”

“The camera shows the view from near the entrance of Pizzeria Mozza.

Four seconds into the start of the tape, a minivan or SUV goes by the front of restaurant. Three seconds later, another vehicle goes by, traveling from the restaurant front door to the crash site in about seven seconds. At 35 seconds into the tape, a car is seen driving northbound and appears to slow, probably for the light at Melrose.

Then at 79 seconds, the camera catches a very brief flash of light in the reflection of the glass of the pizzeria. Traveling at least twice as fast as the other cars on the tape, Hastings’s Mercedes C250 coupe suddenly whizzes by. (This is probably the “whoosh” that Gary, the Mozza employee, heard.)

The car swerves and then explodes in a brilliant flash as it hits a palm tree in the median. Viewed at normal speed, it is a shocking scene—reminiscent of fireballs from “Shock and Awe” images from Baghdad in 2003.

I have heard and read a wide range of guessed speeds, up to as much as 130 mph. I think it’s safe to say the car was doing at least 80.

Driving 80 on Highland is flying. Over 100 is absolute recklessness.

Highland has a very slight rise and fall at its intersection with Melrose. It’s difficult to tell by the film, but based on tire marks—which were not brake skid marks, by the way—chalked by the traffic investigators, it seems that the Mercedes may have been airborne briefly as it crossed the intersection, then landed hard. Tire marks were left about 10 feet east of the restaurant’s valet stand.”

“About 100 feet after the car zooms by on the tape, it starts to swerve. At about 195 feet from the camera, the car jumps the curb of the center median, heading toward a palm tree 56 feet away.

About halfway between the curb and the tree, the car hits a metal protrusion—perhaps 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide—that gives access to city water mains below. This is where the first small flash occurs. This pipe may have damaged the undercarriage of the car, perhaps rupturing a fuel line.”

The “car caught fire from a ruptured fuel line due to running over something” (such as the water pipe) is a popular theory.  The mangled security cage pictured here was blown to the same area as the transmission.  So was the plastic pipe.   They both traveled approximately 200 feet and across the street to the left.  Additionally, according to the witness Jose, there was fire and sparking coming from the rear undercarriage well north of Melrose.

Security cage had been around the water pipe
Security cage had been around the water pipe

(It has recently come to light that the plastic pipe was surrounded by a cage like structure pictured to the right.  This information was provided by another late reporting witness, the watering man’s wife.  We will get to her next.  Some of what she had to  say is absolutely shocking.)

Michael continues:

I looked at the tape frame by frame. A second flash immediately follows the first. It might be the brake lights, but it’s hard to tell. The next frame is dark. Then comes the first explosion, followed immediately by a large fireball.”

The full text of his story can be found on the website Whowhatwhy.com.

 Wife of watering man speaks

Resident Attempting to Douse Flames

Resident Attempting to Douse Flames

This man and his wife live in the house directly across the street from the palm tree that Michael Hastings slammed in to on Highland Avenue.  His wife declined to give a statement on camera to Loud Lab News but she recently granted a telephone interview to a reporter with Info Wars.

She told the reporter, GiGi Erneta, that her bedroom window is on the second floor directly across the street from the palm tree.  The bed is directly under the window.  She and her husband were startled awake by a loud boom followed by a huge flash of light that lit the bedroom up “like daylight”.  Her house did not shake from the best of her recollection.  She moved the curtain to see the massive fire, a fire so intense that she did not see the car at that moment.

Her husband grabbed his slippers to run outside while yelling at her to call 911.  She joined him outside and remained outside until the coroner arrived at 7:30am.   There were two women from the Coroner office, an Oriental and a Latina.  One came in a coroner van, the other in a car marked “coroner investigation”.   Both were of very slight build and she wondered to herself how they were going to perform their tasks.

By that time, a second group from the fire department had arrived on scene. They brought special equipment including the “jaws of life” and chains.  The firemen used their electric tools to cut parts away from the car.  She witnessed them cutting in the rear of the vehicle and they cut away the driver side door panel. Then they attached chains to the tree, the front of the car, and the rear.  Then they used a fire truck to pull the car straight so that they could access the remains.  She likened it to pulling on an accordion.   Two firemen removed the body and the coroners took over.

Police had been on scene the entire time, taking photographs and measurements.  At no time during the three hours that the remains stayed in place was the car left unsupervised.  (I found it interesting that she threw this detail in even though the reporter hadn’t asked about that at all.)

Now comes the big surprise.  But first, look carefully at the photo below.   Take note of the extent of the fire damage inside this car.  Go back up to the photo of her husband trying to douse the flames with their garden hose.  We can plainly observe a “white hot” fire.

Witness Claims Body Not Charred...HUH???

Witness Claims Body Not Charred…HUH???

Here are the temperature ranges for fire:

(source:  http://maggiemaggio.com/color/2011/08/fire-ii-color-and-temperature/

  • White
    • Whitish: 1,300 °C (2,400 °F)
    • Bright: 1,400 °C (2,600 °F)
    • Dazzling: 1,500 °C (2,700 °F)
The fire looked pretty bright and most of the time, entirely white, so let’s estimate 2600 degrees F.  As a point of reference, crematoriums perform cremations of human remains at around 1100 degrees F.   Now here is what watering man’s wife said about the remains.
The police had chased her back into her house and then off of her balcony but she managed to see everything from a window.  Even the white sheet draped over the vehicle did not interfere with her view.  She said that she expected to see a body in pieces and completely blackened.  Instead, she reports, the head was blackened down to the shoulders.  The rest of the body was not burned. She was surprised that someone living in California could have such white arms.   She was able to estimate his age as being between twenty five to thirty years old.  He was wearing a short sleeve tee shirt.  They placed him on a white sheet on the ground flat on his back.  One of the coroners pulled the body by the arm to roll him on his side so that they could access his back pockets, presumably in search of a wallet for I.D.
Here is the interview with the wife of the resident spraying water on the wreckage:
The Los Angeles Times reported on June 19th that :

“Los Angeles County coroner’s office had yet to determine Wednesday whether a body recovered from a fiery car crash was that of Hastings.

The body was “unrecognizable” and badly charred, police told the Los Angeles Times. The body is identified only as “John Doe 117.”

Coroner’s officials were attempting to match dental records to help make a positive identification, according to authorities. No autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.”

(source:  http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/19/local/la-me-ln-michael-hastings-crash-20130619)

The witness that I had interviewed told me that the remains were skeletized. We can see that the interior of that car is burned to a crisp and we know that white flame is over 2000 degrees F.   We also know that rigor mortis sets in between three and four hours, yet the wife  of watering man describes a pliable corpse that was rotated by pulling on one arm, charring only from the head down to the shoulders, and clothing that did not burn away.

We now also know that the remains, in whatever state, were cremated without permission from Hasting’s family.   But this was just a typical, ordinary little car crash…

more to come

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