Driver arrested, 3 passengers die when car crashes into south Edmonton Starbucks

Two women, aged 20 and 21, and a male are dead after a car crashed into a building on Calgary Trail in south Edmonton early Friday.

Edmonton police say driver of Audi coupe fled after 2 a.m. collision

Police were called to Calgary Trail and 55th Avenue around 2:20 a.m. after an Audi struck the wall of a Starbucks. (Art Raham/CBC)

Police have arrested and charged a 25-year-old man who fled the scene after a deadly car crash Friday morning. 

Two women, aged 20 and 21, and a 32-year-old man are dead after a silver Audi RS5 two-door coupe crashed into the wall of a Starbucks coffee shop on Calgary Trail in south Edmonton early Friday. The three were passengers in the car.

The driver Oscar Benjumea was arrested at his residence just after noon, police said in a news release. 

Benjumea was taken to hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said Benjumea faces multiple charges, which will be sworn Friday evening, once his condition is stabilized in hospital.

Police believe the car had been speeding.

Edmonton police responded to the scene at Calgary Trail and 55th Avenue around 2:20 a.m.

Officers found the three victims dead inside.They did not release the names of the victims. 

The Ontario licence plate on the Audi RS5 that crashed on Gateway Trail Friday morning reads DR GREEN. (Art Raham/CBC)

Images from the scene show the car has an Ontario vanity licence plate — DR GREEN.

In an interview with CBC News on Friday, Cameron Kane, the CEO of Bud King, an Edmonton marijuana retailer, said his business partner, Benjumea, drove an Audi RS5 with the same vanity plate.

According to vehicle registration documents obtained by CBC, the Audi is registered to an Oscar Benjumea from Stayner, Ont. 

Kane said he believes his partner's vehicle was involved in the crash. He filed a missing-person report for Benjumea after he failed to show up for work Friday morning.

"He was supposed to go to our downtown location for 11 o'clock but never showed up," Kane said. 

"I heard the news and I tried calling him and I couldn't get ahold of him." 

Kane said he has been speaking to Edmonton police. He said he was interviewed by investigators Friday morning.

Oscar Benjumea, the co-owner of Bud King, was supposed to work at their downtown dispensary on Friday morning but never showed. He was later arrested and charged in the fatal collision. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

Driver left scene

Josh Sahunta was with a friend around 2 a.m. on Friday, turning onto Calgary Trail from Whyte Avenue when they were nearly hit by a car that he says was driving fast and recklessly. Shortly after they saw smoke and realized the car had hit a building.

Sahunta said the driver was bloody and walked away from the scene shortly after. Sahunta and his friend tried to follow, but couldn't see any sign of the driver.

"He didn't run. He was walking, he was a little bit frantic," he said. "He was clearly panicked. I'm sure he was somewhat aware of what he just did."

Police showed up shortly after, and later informed Sahunta that the passengers in the car had died. 

"It's absolutely tragic," he said. "I can't imagine what the parents of those victims are going through."

The Audi appears to have struck the exterior of the building head on, shattering the glass entrance doors, smashing bricks from the facade and leaving the vehicle compacted and mangled.

The car remained on scene later Friday morning, its doors open, with a black tarp erected beside the passenger side.

Police were still investigating and had blocked off vehicle access to several blocks surrounding the crash site.

Calgary Trail was closed north of 55th Avenue, but has since reopened.

Three people were found dead inside the vehicle. The driver fled the scene. (Art Raham/CBC)

With files from Jamie Malbeuf