Mother ID’d as the driver of the car that killed her two daughters

A driver of a vehicle, described only as a naked woman, collided with a traffic light at the intersection of The Old Road and Pico Canyon Road, resulting in a vehicle fire and one minor killed and two others to the hospital to be treated for injuries, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Gilbert Bernal / The Signal

A woman identified as both the injured mother of two young girls killed in a single-car crash in Stevenson Ranch last month and as the driver in that crash has been released from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

Nan Zhang, 31, of Bakersfield, was rushed to the hospital with major injuries on Nov. 18 following a crash that killed her two daughters, who were passengers in the car.

Kathleen Lopez, 6, died at the scene of multiple traumatic injuries, according to a report prepared by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

Her sister, Lydia Lopez, 2, was pronounced dead at the hospital 48 hours after the crash, according to Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman with the coroner’s office. Her official cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries.

The fatal crash happened on Nov. 18, shortly after 9:35 a.m.

Zhang was driving a 2019 Subaru northbound on The Old Road at “what appears to have been a high rate of speed,” California Highway Patrol Investigating Officer Damarius Akins wrote in his report.

“The car veered into the southbound lanes striking a curb, a sign, and a traffic signal,” Akins said.  

“The car then traveled out of control across the intersection of Pico Canyon Road where it then struck a traffic signal, a tree, and a (Southern California) Edison box,” he said.

“The car came to rest on the northwest corner of Pico Canyon Road and The Old Road, where it caught fire,” he added.

Civilians described by Akins as good Samaritans pulled the woman and her daughters from the wreckage.

The compelling mystery, which lingers still for rescuers and investigators, is why Zhang was wearing no clothes at the time of the crash.

“We don’t know why she was naked,” CHP Officer Josh Greengard said, noting investigators immediately had blood samples taken.

“Preliminary blood alcohol tests didn’t reveal any sort of drug,” Greengard said, noting investigators sent a second blood sample off for analysis.

“That sample is at the crime lab,” Greengard said. “It will be four to six weeks before the results come back to us.”

Zhang suffered major injuries during the crash.

Patrick Moody, spokesman for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, said Tuesday: “I’m allowed to tell you she was discharged but I’m not allowed to tell you the date or time. She has been discharged.”

No arrest has been made in connection with the crash, Greengard said.

Akins is urging anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Newhall Area CHP Office at 661-294-5540.

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