NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. >> A young man identified by the coroner as the driver in a single-car crash that killed five teenagers did not have a valid driver’s license, DMV officials said today.
Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan had applied for a license but never finished the process, said Jan Mendoza, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
"This person was never licensed, period," she said.
Alyahyan, 17, and four other teens died Monday in a violent, fiery accident as they headed to the beach on Memorial Day.
The victims — two boys and three girls — were all enrolled at schools in the Irvine Unified School District and included a pair of sisters.
Speed was a factor in the crash, according to Newport Beach police.
Friends said Alyahyan was obsessed with his Infiniti sedan and spent hours working on it and driving it around with his best friend, Nozad Al Hamawendi, who also died in the crash.
Alyahyan was a senior at University High School.
"Abdul loved cars. He took care of his car as if it was a human being," said friend Ibrahim Razzak, a junior at the school.
Alyahyan’s passengers included 17-year-old Robin Cabrera, a senior at Irvine High, and her 16-year-old sister Aurora, a sophomore at the same school.
Also killed were Cecilia Zamora and Al Hamawendi, both 17-year-old juniors at Irvine High.
Police declined to discuss the license status of any of the teens in the car, citing the ongoing investigation.
They also declined to say who was driving the car, although the Orange County coroner said Tuesday that Alyahyan was behind the wheel.
Orange County Superior Court records show Alyahyan was cited in April for violating the terms of a provisional license, modifying the exhaust system of his car and having an obstructed view.
The DMV said it had no record of those violations and no indication that any driver’s ID of any kind had been issued to Alyahyan.
Alyahyan’s brother declined to give his name or speak to The Associated Press when reached by phone on Wednesday.
Autopsies were scheduled for Thursday and toxicology test results will take several weeks, said Jim Amormino, the Orange County sheriff’s spokesman.
Friends said the five teens were headed to the beach for a fun Memorial Day when the tragedy unfolded on a busy thoroughfare that connects Orange County’s interior with Pacific Coast Highway and its beaches.
Authorities said the wreck was one of the worst in Newport Beach in recent memory. The car hit a tree in the median, shearing it of its bark and leaving deep gouges in the trunk.
At least one of Alyahyan’s friends, Tamer Mosallam, felt the Infiniti was a bit too much for such a young driver.
Mosallam was to have been the sixth teen on the beach outing, but backed out after his father ordered him to stay home and study for a test, he said.
"The car was too powerful for him. I’ve been in the car with him and I’ve driven it too," Mosallam told the AP. "It’s not really a car that kids should be driving."