CHINA LAKE, Calif. — A driver who sped onto a Southern California Navy air base without authorization died Wednesday when the car smashed into a metal barrier at high speed, authorities said.

At about 7:30 a.m., the car sped past the wide main entry gate at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, a remote expanse of the Mojave Desert, said Margo Allen, the base’s public affairs officer.

A “final denial” barrier several hundred feet away from the main gate was raised and the car struck it, Allen said.

The driver died at the scene. The motorist’s identity wasn’t immediately released and there was no immediate word on a motive for the intrusion.

Operations at the sprawling base weren’t affected, Allen said.

China Lake is about 120 miles (193 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

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