A man has been charged with nearly a dozen offenses in an alleged intentional crash on the 101 Freeway in Encino that left a young mother dead and injured the couple’s four children, prosecutors said Monday.
Cesar Iban Torres, 31, faces a count of murder, four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse, and one count apiece of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office news release.
“A family has been torn apart by this tragic collision that leaves four young children without their mother,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
Torres is accused of driving a 2003 Lincoln Navigator SUV into oncoming traffic on the 101 Freeway and slamming head-on into a big rig on the 101 Freeway near Haskell Avenue last Thursday night, authorities said.
The wrong-way wreck killed his girlfriend, 26-year-old Aimee Garcia, and injured their four young children, who are between the ages of 1 and 7 years old, according to prosecutors.
The victim’s brother, Juan Zavala, told KTLA in an interview over the weekend that the young mother of four had previously been a victim of domestic violence. He also said that he was on the phone with with his sister when he heard the couple arguing prior to the crash.
“Unfortunately, my sister sacrificed herself for her kids. It just hurts that the kids are going to grow up without a mother,” Zavala said.
Relatives have set up GoFundMe page to raise money for García’s funeral expenses.
After the deadly crash, Torres allegedly fled the vehicle and resisted arrest. The California Highway Patrol reported that the suspect was combative and fought with officers before he was taken into custody.
Torres remains behind bars and is being held on $1 million bail, according to inmate records. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.