A man allegedly driving the wrong way on the Ventura (101) Freeway in Encino was in custody Friday following a head-on crash between his SUV and a big rig that left one of his five passengers dead and the others — all children — injured.
The crash occurred about 7:10 p.m. Thursday west of Haskell Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Cesar Iban Torres, 31, of Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of murder and resisting arrest, and was being held on $1 million bail, the CHP reported.
According to CHP, Torres was driving a 2003 Lincoln SUV westbound in the eastbound lanes of the 101 Freeway near the San Diego (405) Freeway when the vehicle collided head-on with a 2016 Kenworth tractor-trailer.
A woman, possibly in her 20s, died at the scene. Her name was withheld, pending notification of her relatives. The children — ages 2, 5, 12 and 13 — were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with minor injuries, the CHP reported.
The truck driver, Jose Garcia Lopez, of San Diego, complained of pain and was treated at the scene, the CHP reported.
After the crash, Torres allegedly attempted to flee, the CHP reported.
“Upon CHP arrival, officers made contact with Torres, where he became combative and a use of force occurred while taking Torres into custody,” a CHP statement said.
Torres was treated for unspecified injuries at a hospital before booking. Authorities were investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash, the CHP reported.
The crash shut down multiple lanes of the eastbound 101 Freeway for several hours while an investigation was conducted. Anyone with information about the collision was asked to contact the CHP at 818-888-0980.