A woman has been arrested the day after the car she was driving plowed into multiple vehicles at a crowded intersection in Windsor Hills, igniting a fire in a crash that killed six people, the California Highway Patrol announced Friday.
The identity of the suspect has not been publicly released. Authorities are expected disclose details of the charges sometime Friday.
Earlier Friday morning, authorities identified a pregnant woman and her unborn child as two of the six victims who were killed in the collision.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said Asherey Ryan and her unborn son died in the collision.
The coroner’s office did not immediately release the names of the other four deceased victims, but described them as a boy, whose age was not specified, two women and a man.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m., a Mercedes-Benz coupe caused a crash involving as many as six cars near a gas station, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Several people were ejected from the cars and two vehicles caught fire. News video from the scene showed the charred and mangled cars, as well as a child’s car seat among the debris covering the street.
Surveillance showed the Mercedes careening through an intersection, striking at least two cars that exploded in flames and were sent hurtling onto a sidewalk, winding up against the gas station’s corner sign. A fiery streak led to one car. One vehicle was sheared in half.
“It looked like the whole intersection from corner to corner was on fire,” said witness Harper Washington. “A lot of sparks and electricity. I was under the impression that, really at first I thought they dropped a bomb on us. I thought another world war had started. Then I realized it was a car into the sign.”
“Once the fire went away and the booming left, I realized it was two cars there. You could see the people on fire and that’s just sad. I really pray for the people and the community.”
Seven injured people were taken to the hospital, including the 40-year-old woman who was driving the Mercedes. She was injured but is expected to survive.
The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children ranging in age from 13 months old to 15 years old, CHP Officer Franco Pepi said.
Witness Alphonso Word choked up as he described seeing the pregnant woman and a child in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
“It hurts. It does,” Word said. “Because I have a grandson. I know people that have kids. For a mother to be pregnant … that child never had a chance.”
Highway Patrol officials said the agency will recommend multiple charges against the driver of the Mercedes when the case is presented to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
She should go to jail. There is absolutely no excuse for this unless the driver had a medical emergency. If not, she deserves the highest penalty that can be given to her. She has literally and figuratively destroyed lives.