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Driver of stolen SUV dies after hitting tree: Edmonton police

The 27-year-old man who died in a crash in north-central Edmonton early Thursday morning was driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing from its owner, police say.

Emergency responders were loading an SUV passenger onto a stretcher and attempting to cut out the driver when CTV News Edmonton arrived at the scene at 120 Avenue and 89 Street around 6 a.m.

The 2010 Toyota RAV4 was mangled and a nearby tree was damaged.

Delton neighbourhood residents told CTV News Edmonton they heard the vehicle speeding down their street right before the crash.

"I had my windows open," Vern Smart said. "The speed of the car – you could hear it… And then the squeal. And then the smash of the car. And then I come out and all I seen [sic] was that car smoking."

The RAV4 was stolen by two people from a home garage a few blocks away at 125 Avenue and 81 Street, investigators were told.

"The male owner of the RAV4, who happened to be at a nearby convenience store at the time of the theft, spotted his RAV4 drive by, and subsequently pursued the two suspects from a distance in a secondary vehicle, while speaking with 911 emergency operators," Edmonton Police Service said.

"Shortly thereafter, the stolen vehicle lost control and struck a tree on 120 Avenue."

"I heard the brakes squeal and then I heard a big, big bang, basically. I came outside and seen [sic] all this commotion going on," Coby Steinhauer, who was getting ready to leave for work, recalled.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

His 34-year-old passenger was expected to survive his injuries.

Speed is considered a "major" factor.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Klippenstein Top Stories

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