LOS ANGELES– A pregnant woman who died with her young son and three others in a fire accident caused by a speeding car was on her way to a prenatal doctor’s appointment, her sister said on Friday.
Thursday’s crash killed Asherey Ryan, her 11-month-old son, Alonzo Quintero, and her boyfriend, Reynold Lester, Sha’seana Kerr said in a GoFundMe post.
“Everyone is heartbroken,” Kerr told KABC-TV. “She literally walked through the door, because we all live together, and she said, ‘Okay, I love you all. I’m going to my doctor’s appointment to check on the baby. We asked, ‘Oh, why don’t you leave our nephew here?’ She said, ‘No, I want to take my son for a ride.’ So to know that it really, really broke our hearts.”
Lester’s family told KABC-TV that the 24-year-old security guard is the father of the unborn child, who was listed as “little Ryan boys” in coroner’s records online.
Two other women and a man were also killed but their names were not released on Friday.
Shortly after 1.30pm on Thursday, a Mercedes-Benz sedan ran a red light at high speed and caused the crash involving up to six cars near a gas station in the unincorporated Windsor Hills around 16 kilometers southwest of downtown Los Angeles. , according to the California Highway Patrol.
The California Highway Patrol said Nicole Lorraine Linton, who suffered moderate injuries in the crash, was taken into custody on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.
Prosecutors said they could receive the case as soon as next Monday and would then decide whether to file criminal charges.
It was not immediately clear whether Linton, 37, had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The Mercedes-Benz sedan never appeared to brake as it drove through the intersection and Pepi said detectives were looking into whether Linton had had a medical episode or was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“It was definitely one of the most horrific crashes we’ve seen,” CHP officer Franco Pepi told The Associated Press on Friday.
Several people were ejected from cars and two vehicles caught fire. TV reports showed the blacked out and mangled cars, along with a child car seat among the debris covering the street.
The video showed the Mercedes driving through an intersection, hitting at least two cars which burst into flames and were sent onto a sidewalk, ending up against the corner sign of the gas station. A fire sequence led to a car. A vehicle was torn in two.
The car was traveling at least 50 mph (80 km/h) as it drove through the crowded intersection, Pepi said on Thursday. Eight people were taken to hospital, including Linton.
The other victims had minor injuries and included a 33-year-old woman and six children between the ages of 1 and 15, Pepi said.
A memorial sprouted outside the intersection on Friday as mourners left flowers and candles in memory of the dead.
Henry Sanchez, who works at nearby Sinclair Gas, was on the inside register when he heard “the loudest noise I’ve ever heard”.
“The sound, it was heartbreaking,” he told the AP on Friday. “It was like two trains colliding, metal against metal.”
He saw people rushing to the cars to offer help but they were held back by the flames until firefighters arrived.
“I remember everyone was trying to put out the fire and help people as much as they could, but nobody could do anything,” he said.
Veronica Esquival told KTLA-TV that she covered her head to protect herself when debris was flying.
“All of a sudden a baby literally flew from the middle of the intersection to the middle of the gas station and landed right on the ground in front of me,” Esquival said. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and snatched the baby from my hands. (…) Someone tried to resuscitate the baby but the baby was gone.”
Debra Jackson told KCBS-TV she was about to get out of her car to pump gas when she heard a large explosion.
“The flames went over everyone,” Jackson said. “The flames went all over my car and they told me to jump out of my car…because I was trying to get out of my car, to get to the gas pump. And I jumped out of my car and I just left my car sitting right there.”
Associated Press photojournalist Damian Dovarganes in Los Angeles and news researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.
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