A speeding car ran a red light and plowed into cars in a crowded intersection Thursday in a fiery crash that killed at least five people, including a baby, just outside of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Shortly after 1:30 pm, a Mercedes-Benz sedan caused a crash involving as many as six cars near a gas station in the unincorporated Windsor Hills about 10 miles southwest of downtown LA, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Several people were flung from the cars and two vehicles caught fire. Television reports showed the blackened and mangled cars, as well as a child’s car seat among the debris covering the street.
Video 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 torn in half.
The car was doing at least 50 mph as it raced through the crowded intersection, CHP Officer Franco Pepi said.
The CHP initially said that three adults, including one who was pregnant, and a baby were killed. However, another body was later found inside one of the burned cars, Pepi said at an evening news conference.
The pregnant woman was identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner as Asherey Ryan, 23, of Los Angeles. The coroner also confirmed one of those killed in the crash was Ryan’s unborn baby boy. The other victims have not yet been identified.
Pepi said eight people were taken to the hospital, including the 40-year-old woman who was driving the Mercedes. She had major injuries.
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, Pepi said.
A witness to the crash, Veronica Esquivel,she tried to help the baby, but couldn’t.
“I was about to pump gas and all of a sudden, I hear all of the noises from all of the collisions, and then the fire explosion and I saw things, metal and things flying in the air. So, I just covered myself behind the pump,” she told the station.
Esquival told KTLA-TV that the baby was ejected from the vehicle and landed near her.
“All of the sudden, a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed right on the floor in front of me,” Esquival said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands. … Somebody tried to resuscitate the baby but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson told CBS Los Angeles she was about to get out of her car to pump gas when she heard a big explosion.
“The flames just went over everybody,” Jackson said. “The flames went over my whole car and they told me to jump out of my car … because I was trying to get out of my car, to go to the gas pump. And I jumped out of my car and just left my car sitting right there.”