Second child dies of injuries from fiery crash; CHP investigating

The wreckage of the collision that took two childrens' lives Monday. Gilbert Bernal / The Signal.

A second child died Wednesday as a result of a fiery crash on Monday at a busy Stevenson Ranch intersection, where the driver, a Bakersfield woman, was found naked next to the car as it burned and Good Samaritans tried to save the children. 

California Highway Patrol officers are still investigating the circumstances that led up to the crash.

Investigators with the CHP Newhall-area Office have ruled out drugs or alcohol as a possible factor in the crash near the corner of Pico Canyon Road and The Old Road that killed 6-year-old Kathleen Lopez and a 2-year-old girl. The identity of the 2-year-old girl, who died Wednesday, was not released.

No charges are pending at the moment, according to CHP Officer Eric Priessman, and at this time, officers are still determining the root cause of Monday’s fatal crash.

“We are investigating all avenues,” Priessman said. “If there is anything that leads us to make an arrest, we will make that arrest.”

Witnesses on the scene told a harrowing tale of the crash, which took place at around 9:40 a.m. in the northbound lanes of The Old Road, continued onto the shoulder and then came to a stop on the northwest corner of the intersection of Pico Canyon and The Old Road, where the car caught fire with two children inside.

The woman’s car, a 2019 Subaru, was traveling northbound on The Old Road “at what appears to be a high rate of speed,” according to a CHP report of the incident. The vehicle veered into the southbound lanes, “striking a curb, a sign and a traffic signal.” The car then reportedly “traveled out of control across the intersection of Pico Canyon Road, where it struck a traffic signal, a tree and an Edison box.” The car then came to a stop on the northwest corner of the intersection, where it then caught fire.

The CHP report notes “Good Samaritans” pulled the woman from the car and then attempted life-saving measures on both children as the witnesses awaited first responders.

“The call came in at 9:43 (a.m.). It looks like it was a solo-vehicle (crash),” said Marvin Lim of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “The vehicle was well-involved.”

Jerry Jordan, a William S. Hart Union High School District employee, was driving eastbound on Pico Canyon Road on Monday morning when he saw the scene unfold. 

Acting quickly, he and another witness helped evacuate the 2019 Subaru, which was still on fire, as a nurse who witnessed the crash also arrived to help.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident, but questions remain for investigators.

“We have ruled out DUI as a possibility,” Priessman said Monday afternoon. “There are other things we are looking into.”

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