Los Angeles News

Tarzana fatal crash suspect drank beer immediately after wreck

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The driver who allegedly set off a chain-reaction car crash that killed a woman in Tarzana was seen drinking beer immediately after the incident.

Police are trying to figure out if that driver was intentionally trying to taint evidence. They know he consumed alcohol after the crash, but they're doing additional tests to pin point his blood alcohol before the accident.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Vanalden Avenue shortly after 11 p.m. Monday. Police say the suspect was driving a Silver Taurus, heading eastbound on Ventura, when he slammed into a Saturn Ion stopped at the red light, triggering the chain-reaction crash that involved a total of seven vehicles.

"There was a very violent impact between the Taurus and the Saturn," said LAPD Detective Bill Bustos. "In the Saturn there was a female in her 60s [and] because of the tremendous amount of impact and intrusion into that vehicle, she died at the scene."

The deceased victim's identity was not released. Authorities described the woman as a 64-year-old from the Los Angeles area.

It appears speed was a factor in the collision, according to Bustos. Other drivers involved in the crash also say the driver of the silver Taurus looked unbalanced.

"He was apparently drunk, and he did something to his arm. He was bleeding. He was very intoxicated, because he couldn't even stand up straight," described one driver.

After the crash, police say the driver of the Taurus went into a nearby mini mart and bought beer. When police arrived, one of the beers was open.

The clerk at the mini mart said the driver came in shouting that he wanted beer. He picked up a six-pack, threw the money on the counter and left.

A witness, who wanted to be identified as Ryan, described a similar scene.

"He walked in the gas station and bought a six-pack, and he was holding it in his arms, and he came and put it right in front of the door and he opened one and started drinking it," he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the driver of the Taurus was not arrested. His identity was not released, but he was described as a man in his 30s from Los Angeles. He suffered injuries in the crash and was transported to an area hospital.

Three other people suffered minor injuries.

The Vanalden Avenue on-ramp to the southbound 101 Freeway was closed for the investigation. It has since reopened.

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