Pair killed in Northlake Blvd. crash ID'd - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Pair killed in Northlake Blvd. crash ID'd

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Two drivers were killed in a violent overnight crash in Palm Beach Gardens on Northlake Boulevard west of Military Trail.

Late Thursday afternoon police identified them as Jon Michael Minotti, 25, of North Palm Beach and Zhi Rui Chen, 50, of West Palm Beach.

The head-on wreck involved a Nissan Frontier which was towing a trailer and a Nissan Rogue.

The Rogue, driven by Minotti, was westbound on Northlake, crossed the median into eastbound lanes just west of Green Meadows Way and struck the Frontier, driven by Chen, near Palm Beach Gardens Fire Station #3, according to police.

The vehicles exploded into flames. Both drivers died upon impact, police said.

A neighbor said she heard a loud boom after the wreck occurred.

"I heard a loud, loud explosion and I got scared," said Nicole Drake, who lives nearby.

She saw the fiery crash feet from her home.

"I opened up my window and then there was flames and from the angle I was standing, it looked like the house was on fire," said Drake.

The fire was also close to another resident's home.

"We could like feel the heat," the man said. "We were afraid. Do we just stand there because every time we heard a burst or something like the movies you expect things will blow up

At 6:30 a.m., eastbound lanes on Northlake Boulevard were closed for hours just east of Florida’s Turnpike.

A battalion chief said he has never seen two vehicles burn like this after crashing.

Rescue crews said it took them about two hours to remove the victims because the metal was so badly mangled and melted.

The cause of the wreck is unclear.

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