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Woman Killed In Wrong-Way Driving Collision With Big Rig On 101 Freeway In Encino; Driver Arrested After Becoming Combative

ENCINO (CBSLA) — A woman was killed and five other people injured, including four children, in a wrong-way multi-vehicle crash on the southbound Ventura (101) Freeway in Encino Thursday night.

wrongway 101 encino crash
(credit: CBS)

The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. near the San Diego (405) Freeway, after the driver of a white Lincoln Navigator crashed head-on into a big rig, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver was going northbound in a southbound lane near Haskell Avenue when it collided with a tractor-trailer.

When officers got to the scene, the driver tried to walk away, officers said. Law enforcement approached the suspect, and he became combative. According to the CHP, the driver assaulted the officers, who used a stun gun and hog-tied him, before putting a spit-bag over his face.

The driver was identified by the CHP as 31-year-old Cesar Iban Torres of Los Angeles. He was taken to UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital for treatment.

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported one adult and four juveniles were taken to a local hospital, and the CHP reported a woman in her 20's in the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the big rig, 56-year-old Jose Garcia Lopez of San Diego, was not seriously injured.

All except the first lane of the southbound 101 Freeway were blocked while paramedics assessed patients, according to the CHP. One eastbound lane was reopened around 8:18 p.m., but the freeway was not fully reopened until 2:30 a.m. Friday.

It's not known if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision, which remains under investigation.

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