Girl, 17, killed in early-morning, one-car crash in Malden

A 17-year-old girl was killed after the car she was driving hit a curb, became airborne, and burst into flames when it crashed into a sign post early Tuesday morning, Malden ­police said.

The girl was driving with a 19-year-old female passenger in the car, said Detective Ted Meroski of the Malden police.

The crash occurred at the corner of Medford and John Streets just before 3:30 a.m., Meroski said.

“It appears that she . . . hit the opposing curb, which set the motor vehicle in flight,” he said. The car then struck a sign. “Upon hitting the sign post, the car spun counter-clockwise, so that it was facing eastbound, and became ­engulfed in flames.”

Drivers under the age of 18 in Massachusetts, known as junior operators, are prohibited from driving from 12:30 to 5 a.m. if they are without a parent or legal guardian, says the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Police believe high speed and treacherous weather contributed to the crash, he said. There was misty rain and fog over Malden between 2 and 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Passersby called 911 when they discovered the crash and helped care for the passenger until emergency responders arrived.

The passenger suffered ­serious burns and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police did not release the names of those in the crash.

Malden detectives do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved.