Authorities on Friday were investigating a fiery multi-car crash that left five people dead, including a pregnant woman and a baby, in the Windsor Hills neighborhood on Thursday.
Eight people were also injured in the crash at La Brea and Slauson avenues. The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the crash shortly after 1:40 p.m
Surveillance video of the crash shows the Mercedes-Benz driving down La Brea at a high rate of speed as dozens of cars cross the Slauson intersection. The Mercedes runs a red light and crashes into cars at the intersection before bursting into flames and crashing into a light pole, where it comes to rest.
A streak of fire burns on the ground after the crash.
Smoke could be seen rising from miles away.
Trooper Franco Pepi, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said Thursday afternoon that three adults, including a pregnant woman, and an infant died in the crash.
Authorities later found the remains of another person in one of the burned vehicles, he said. That person’s gender or age were not known Thursday night.
The pregnant woman also lost her unborn child, which the CHP is reporting as an additional fatality “due to rare circumstances,” Pepi said.
A Windsor Hills intersection went up in flames after a multi-vehicle crash Thursday.
Authorities took eight people to UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center for treatment, he said. Of the injured, six are teenagers, and one has serious injuries.
A woman, who did not want to be named, told The Times that the Mercedes-Benz hit her car as she was leaving a United Oil gas station.
“I was going out, I had gas,” she said. “Suddenly this Mercedes comes at me… on fire. I didn’t have time to think about it. Hit my car. I swerved, hitting the side of the bench.
The crash made her fear a gasoline explosion, she told The Times.
Nearby, the wrecked Mercedes with a smashed front hood had crashed into a curb.
Investigators believe the driver of the Mercedes-Benz was at fault for the crash, Pepi said.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but a CHP spokesman said investigators determined the Mercedes was traveling at a “high rate of speed” and ran a red light while traveling south on La Brea.
The driver has only been identified as an adult woman, Pepi said.
The woman was hospitalized but was conscious and talking to CHP investigators Thursday night, he said, adding that he did not know the extent of her injuries.
At least six vehicles were involved in the crash, three of which were engulfed in flames, Pepi said. The rest have medium damage.
Witnesses described a terrifying scene.
“It looked like the whole intersection was on fire from corner to corner,” Harper Washington told KABC-TV. “Lots of sparks and electricity. I got the impression that I really thought at first that they had dropped a bomb on us. … After the fire went out and the booming left, I realized there were two cars. You can see people on fire and it’s just sad. I really pray for the people and the community.”
Veronica Esquival told KTLA a baby stopped at the intersection. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took it from my hands. Someone tried to resuscitate the baby, but the baby was gone. she said.