A drunken driving investigation took a bizarre turn in North Hollywood early Wednesday when authorities discovered the driver's two small children had been left home alone.
Police said the investigation began just after 2 a.m. when the mother crashed into a parked vehicle. Her Toyota overturned near the corner of Whitnall Highway and Oxnard Street. Witnesses pulled her injured 4-year-old daughter out of the wreckage.
"I went over there, and the lady was crawling out from under her vehicle," said witness Norbetro Mora. "She's screaming, where's my other kids."
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"The small baby seat in the car was empty," said witness Maria Lopez.
But no other children were in her car. The 4-year-old daughter told police the 2-month-old was missing.
The mother tried to run from the scene, but witnesses chased her down and held her for police, officers said.
Officers feared the woman's other children were thrown out of the vehicle during the crash. Police used a heat-detection device to determine whether a child had been in the car seat.
The results were negative.
Officers said they later found a toddler and an infant, left alone, at the woman's North Hollywood home.
The 4-year-old crash survivor was treated and released from the hospital.
All three children are now in police protective custody. Their mother could face DUI as well as child endangerment and abandonment charges. She has yet to be booked.