A man allegedly crashed his SUV into a semi truck on purpose while driving his family. The four children survived, and one of them reportedly told a relative that their mother died after struggling with the suspect over the steering wheel.
Cesar Iban Torres, 31, faces a count of first-degree murder after Aimee Guadalupe Garcia, 25, died in the Thursday collision, according to NBC Los Angeles. The children’s ages range from 8 years old to 18 months. The big rig’s driver also survived the crash.
The wrong-way crash shut down lanes of 101 Freeway in Encino, California. A white SUV collided head-first into a semi truck near the 405 Freeway, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a KABC report.
Garcia’s brother Juan Zavala told the outlet that Torres called him hours before the crash and made disturbing statements. Torres asserted that the government was after him, he said.
“‘If I go missing, and the boys go missing, you know who did it,'” Torres said according to Zavala. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about.’ And he said God talked to him and said he has to give his family to God, and I’m like ‘No, what are you talking about? Come back.'”
After the crash, one of the boys said Garcia fought with Torres for control of the steering wheel, Zavala said. Garcia managed to get the SUV out of the way but Torres moved it back, according to this story.
“He said, ‘Mommy saved us,’ and that broke my heart,” Zavala said.
Torres allegedly fought members of the California Highway Patrol after the crash. As seen in the video above, authorities appeared to hog-tie the driver. Torres also faces a count of resisting arrest.
Zavala said he wished he could have helped.
“You are responsible for taking my sister’s life away and leaving your children without a mother and father,” he said in a message to Torres, according to NBC Los Angeles. “Thank God, I’m here as a good uncle and a good older brother. I will take responsibility for my nephews because that’s what my sister wanted to do.”
There is a GoFundMe to pay for Garcia’s funeral. The campaign has raised more than $17,800 as of Monday morning.
[Screenshot via KABC]
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