A driver was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk after being involved in a collision that killed a mother and two of her children Monday morning at South Mona Boulevard at East 119th Street in the Willowbrook area of unincorporated Los Angeles County, said Officer Vince Ramirez with CHP.
The victims were identified as 30-year-old Lynzne Martinez, of Los Angeles, and her daughters Brianna, 7, and Loryana, 3, according to the coroner's office.
Neighbors said they rushed to the scene after they heard the crash, which was reported to CHP at 7:12 a.m. when a white, four-door sedan collided with a Chevy Tahoe carrying a mother, her children, and three family friends, CHP officials said.
Virgina Brito, the victim's friend, said the family was observing Memorial Day weekend at Brito's house.
"It got late," Brito said. "We just told them to spend the night for the same reason, because there are people drinking and driving."
Witnesses said the driver of the sedan attempted to flee the scene, but passersby caught him. That driver was detained for questioning and arrested.
Mitzy Rendon said she saw Martinez lying on the ground and a booster seat on the grass. Rendon tried to help one of the young victims.
"I took her out of the car in case anything happened, like an explosion happened, so I wanted to take her out as soon as possible," Rendon said.
A man in the vehicle could be heard talking, Rendon said, and screaming "help" and "oh my God." An older man, sitting in the back of the van, was alive and trying to breathe, the witness said.
Neighbors at the scene were emotional, some tearing up as they remembered their role in the crash's aftermath.
"I wasn't thinking about nothing but get them babies away from there; that was the only thing on my mind," said witness Wade Pitts.
The crash occured at a t-intersection, and officials said there was one person in the sedan and at least seven in the SUV travelling eastbound on 119th Street approaching Mona Boulevard.
In addition to the three fatal victims, at least two people were transported to the hospital with moderate to major injuries, Ramirez said.
The children were pronounced dead the scene; the woman was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Mona Boulevard is closed from 118th to 120th streets while investigators are on scene.
Correction: The original article incorrectly described the collision as a hit and run. Both vehicles are at the scene and one person has been detained, though witnesses said the driver attempted to run from the scene.