A California man allegedly intentionally drove his vehicle the wrong way down the 101 Freeway and slammed head-on into a big rig, killing his girlfriend and injuring their children, authorities said.
Cesar Iban Torres, 31, was charged with one count of murder, four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
On the evening of Aug. 12, Torres was in a 2003 Lincoln Navigator with his 26-year-old girlfriend, Aimee Garcia, and their four children, ages 1-7. Prosecutors said Torres allegedly drove the SUV down the 101 Freeway in Encino and hit a tractor trailer.
Garcia died in the crash and the couple’s children suffered moderate injuries. The defendant allegedly then fled the scene and resisted arrest.
“A family has been torn apart by this tragic collision that leaves four young children without their mother,” District Attorney George Gascón said.
Garcia’s brother, Juan Zavala, told KTLA he was speaking on the phone with the wrong-way crash victim and heard her and the suspect get into an argument.
“I told them, ‘You’re going to make it home. You’ll be fine. Just stay safe.’ Little did I know that they [were going to] get into that accident,” Zavala told the station. “Unfortunately, my sister sacrificed herself for her kids. It just hurts that the kids are going to grow up without a mother."
In a GoFundMe set up to help pay for funeral expenses, Angie Valenzuela noted her niece, Garcia, was “a loving, caring mother.”
“Unfortunately, she was a victim of domestic violence for many years,” Valenzuela claimed, saying that “the aggressor fulfilled his objective and enter the freeway the wrong way intentionally killing my niece.”
“Thank God the children are fine but very traumatized,” she added.