Police were notified at 2:32 a.m. Sunday that an eastbound vehicle had crashed into a tree on West Middlefield between Linda Vista and San Vernon avenues, according to police spokesperson Liz Wylie.
"When we got there, the tree and the vehicle were engulfed in flames," she said. "Officers attempted to try to find a way into the vehicle to get the trapped driver out, but the vehicle had substantial damage and there was a lot of debris on top of it."
The driver, who has not been identified, "sustained massive injuries and burns" and was pronounced dead at the scene, Wylie said. Fire crews were called to put out the burning vehicle and a tree that had caught fire.
Wylie said the vehicle, a 2001 Volvo S80, was destroyed behind recognition. She said it hit six trees along the roadway, knocking several down completely, before coming to rest against a large redwood tree. Another, slightly smaller redwood was knocked down and snapped in half, she said.
"Hitting a tree cuts through the car like a knife, so hitting seven of them of varying sizes — it completely destroys the car," Wylie said. "From certain angles it is literally unrecognizable."
Middlefield was closed in both directions until 11 a.m. that day so authorities could conduct their investigation. Although police believe speed was a factor, Wylie said they did not yet have an estimate on how fast the driver was traveling. The speed limit where the crash occurred is 35 miles per hour.
As of press time, police were waiting on reports from the coroner's office and did not yet know if alcohol or drugs were involved. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call police at (650) 903-6344.