Speed remains the suspected cause of July 4th double fatal crash

A blue truck drives past the spot in the far right lane of southbound McBean Parkway just south of Decoro Drive where a BMW hit at Honda head-on in a fatal car crash in July 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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After two days of probing the circumstances surrounding a fatal crash in Valencia that claimed the lives of two local men on July 4, speed remains the primary factor in the crash and, specifically, the speed of the car operated by the older of the two victims.

“Speed is the primary factor in this crash,” Traffic Investigator Det. Jeff Maag, of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Traffic Section told The Signal Wednesday.

About 10 minutes after midnight, into the early morning hours of Tuesday, At 12:10 a.m., two cars collided at the intersection of McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive.

A memorial sits, right, on McBean Parkway across from skid marks, left, from where two people were killed on Monday night in a traffic collision. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Killed in the collision were 18-year-old Hart High School grad Collin Charles Gore and 34-year-old Joel Thomas Godfrey, both of Santa Clarita.

Gore was driving a Honda Accord and Godfrey, a white BMW sedan.

“The primary focus of the investigation is the speed of the BMW,” Maag said Wednesday.

Initial reports indicated the BMW was traveling northbound on McBean at a high rate of speed, lost control, clipped what investigators believe was a tree and careened into oncoming traffic.

The BMW slammed head-on into the Honda Accord.

“The driver of the Honda was not ejected,” Maag said, contrary to earlier unsubstantiated reports.

Both vehicles came to a rest about 100 feet apart on the southbound side of McBean Parkway just south of Decoro Drive. The BMW caught fire.

Maag also said there was “no indication” drugs or alcohol were factors in the fatal crash.

Although both drivers were declared dead at the scene, an official cause and manner of death for both deceased men is pending on the results of autopsies, Lt. Ed Winter, of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner Coroner told The Signal Wednesday.

Godfrey was pronounced dead at the scene at 00:19 a.m. July 4, Gore was pronounced dead at 00:21 a.m., Winter said.

Winter identified Godfrey as a resident of Santa Clarita.

Public records show Godfrey, at one time, lived in an apartment on Leonard Tree Lane, in Newhall.


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A memorial sits near the site of where Collin Gore and Joel Godfrey died in a head-on collision on McBean Parkway near Decoro Drive on Monday night. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

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