Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Even if air bags work, not wearing a seat belt may be deadly.

That was a possible tragic conclusion Monday as officials identified a 25-year-old woman passenger who was killed in an alleged DUI crash into a freeway center divider in Monterey Park.

Eugenia Zavaleta of Los Angeles was the dead passenger according to the coroner’s office, and law enforcement officials said that while the vehicle’s air bags deployed, Zavaleta was not wearing a seat belt.

Zavaleta was a passenger in the vehicle that crashed into the Pomona (60) Freeway center divider at 3:45 a.m. Friday near Garfield Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver, a 27-year-old Walnut woman, was taken to a hospital for treatment of “major” injuries, the CHP reported.

She was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and gross vehicular manslaughter, the CHP said. Her name was not immediately released.

Officers went to the location on a report that a 2012 Hyundai had hit the center divider and was disabled in the No. 1 and 2 lanes, the CHP reported.

“Initial reports indicated the possible involvement of a commercial vehicle also, but it was determined the collision involved a solo passenger vehicle only,” the CHP said in a statement.

“Upon arrival of emergency personnel, the right front passenger was unresponsive and the driver was in and out of consciousness,” the statement said. “Upon initial investigation it was determined the vehicle’s airbags successfully deployed. However the passenger was not wearing a safety belt.”


—City News Service

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