A suspected DUI crash in Willowbrook left three people – a mother and her two young daughters – dead on Monday morning.
The crash occurred at the corner of Mona Boulevard and East 119th Street at about 7:30 a.m., according to police reports.
Apparently the accident happened when a 32-year-old drunk driver was traveling down Mona at a high-rate of speed when he broadsided the family’s vehicle and caused the vehicle to roll over several times.
The man’s white Cadillac and the woman’s Chevrolet Tahoe SUV both careened off the road and rolled into a retaining wall on the side of the street.
The woman’s two children, Loryana Martinez, 3, and Brianna Martinez, 7, were both thrown through the windows of the vehicle onto the street.
The mother, Lynzne Jane Martinez, 30, of Los Angeles, sustained severe injuries and was transported to a local hospital where she later died.
Brianna was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders and Loryana later died at the hospital in Lynwood.
One of the residents of the area, Mitzy Rendon, 16, heard the crash and ran outside to help the victims.
Rendon said, “I saw a baby on the floor, already dead,” she said. “I tried helping her but I couldn’t do anything. My mom checked the pulse, but she already had died.”
Three other people were also injured. Their names were not released, but they were identified as a 65-year-old man, a 24-year-old man and Martinez’s 1-year-old son. They sustained minor to moderate injuries.
The little boy was removed from his car seat at the scene of the crash by a witness.
The driver of the Cadillac was alone in his vehicle. The California Highway Patrol identified him as Jason Steward, 32, of Hawthorne.
According to witnesses, Steward attempted to flee the scene, but was quickly caught and held by several members of the community.
He was later escorted by the police to a local hospital for treatment of a broken ankle.
After he had completed treatment, he was placed under arrest for vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and suspicion of DUI.
Members of the Martinez family said that the only reason that Martinez was driving home on Monday morning was because she decided on Sunday that she had had too many drinks to drive and needed to rest before she got in her car.
“They made the right decision, but this other guy didn’t,” one family member told KTLA. “Even though they were trying to play it safe, they still got hurt.”
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