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Psychologists help grieving students after fatal car crash

September 30, 2013

Four psychologists were sent to two Burbank high schools Monday morning to counsel students and district officials in the wake of a car crash Saturday morning in which five former students were killed and one was injured, authorities said.

The victims – who have not yet been identified by authorities – attended Burbank schools, all having graduated between one and five years ago.

Two psychologists were sent to both Burbank  and John Burroughs high schools to offer support and counseling services to students and staff, and assist the school psychologists already stationed at each school, school district officials said.

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Each school has one psychologist.

An outpouring of grief spread through social media over the weekend, and a memorial with candles and pictures of the victims was left at the crash scene.

Authorities were conducting a forensic examination of the vehicle – a Nissan sedan equipped with five seatbelts – to determine whether any mechanical issues contributed to the crash, police said Monday.

Police responded to San Fernando Boulevard near the Scott Road off-ramp of the 5 Freeway just after 4 a.m. Saturday morning to reports of a single-car crash in which the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.

Five occupants were found dead inside the vehicle. An 18-year-old female passenger survived, and was being treated for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

“In my 26 years here, this is the largest accident I’ve been involved with – that most of us can recall,” said Burbank Police Lt. John Dilibert. “It’s taken its toll on the families, and it will take its toll on the members of this department."

The initial police investigation into the crash indicated that the vehicle was traveling south on San Fernando Boulevard at a high speed, lost control and slammed into a concrete abutment, according to a news release issued by Burbank police Saturday.

The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Burbank Police Det. Sam Anderson at (818) 238-3100.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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