A six-pack of Blue Moon beer is now being used as evidence in a deadly chain-reaction crash after one driver was spotted buying the alcohol in a nearby gas station after the wreck. The driver is accused of allegedly starting the seven-car pileup. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
After allegedly causing a chain-reaction crash that left a woman dead, a 33-year-old man went inside a Chevron gas station and bought a six-pack of beer, police said Tuesday.
The man, who was not immediately identified, is accused of crashing a 1999 Ford Taurus and causing a chain-reaction collision with seven other vehicles on Monday at 11 p.m. in the 19200 block of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.
Katherine Garcia was hit by one of the cars in the chain reaction.
"I thought I was going to die," said Garcia, who was not injured.
The crash killed a 64-year-old driver of a Saturn Ion, which collapsed in on itself at impact, detectives said.
Crash witness and survivor Jeffrey Sherman watched in horror as a car and driver on his passenger side took the hardest hit.
"It looked like the person hit the steering wheel," Sherman said. "On the moment of impact, hitting the white truck ... Her neck (looked like it) broke."
The crash also injured a second person and shut a stretch of Ventura Boulevard for hours while investigators sifted through the wreckage.
"The impact was to the rear of the Saturn," said Detective Bill Bustos, of the LAPD Valley Traffic Division. “It was so great -- the intrusion so great -- that regrettably the driver of the Saturn died on the scene."
The driver of the Taurus was hospitalized. Detectives are waiting to interview him.
Detectives say they have surveillance video that shows him buying beer, and witnesses said they saw the same thing.
"He went over there, picked up beer - a six-pack - threw money on the counter and left," a store cashier named Rocky told NBC4.
"He bought a six-pack of beer and drank one really fast," Sherman said.
Police did not say whether alcohol caused the crash, but said speed appeared to be a factor.
"I just hope people won't drink and do drugs and get behind the wheel of a car," Sherman said. "...Or text, or anything that takes your mind off when you're driving. Just drive."