Nearby, Linton’s Mercedes-Benz had crashed into the curb and come to rest.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but the CHP spokesperson said investigators determined the Mercedes-Benz was traveling “at a high rate of speed” and ran a red light while traveling south on La Brea.
At least six vehicles were involved in the crash, three of which were engulfed in flames, Pepi said. The others sustained moderate damage.
Mourners began to gather at the crash site Friday. Road crews were replacing the traffic signals that were damaged by the crash. Witnesses described a horrific scene.
Eran Hall has worked at La Brea Gas across the street for about eight months and has seen several car crashes, but never like the one that unfolded Thursday.
“Everyone was just shocked,” Hall told the Times on Friday morning. “Some people started to run away from the gas station because of all the flames. Other people started helping the drivers in the other cars that were pushed to the side.”
At least two people ran out with fire extinguishers, Hall said.
Henry Sanchez, who works at the Sinclair gas station, said the flames were out of control.
“At that point it was just too late for people to do anything,” Sanchez said.
Before the crash, Sanchez heard the scraping sound of the car coming down the hill.
“You hear the tires grinding,” Sanchez said. “The sound stuck with me.”
Noel Senior, who works at Little Kingston Jamaican, heard a loud boom and when he stepped outside his business and looked down the street he saw a column of flames lapping up at the gas station sign. “There was nothing we could have done. Nobody was going to come from the fire,” Senior said.
“Everyone was going through a process of not really knowing what to do and helping as best as they can,” said Jamarcus Robinson, who had popped into the United Oil for a Powerade while going for a run. “We saw a baby. There was a car seat in the street and a baby not too far out.”
“I could barely sleep at night,” he added.
Veronica Esquival told KTLA-TV that a baby came to rest in the intersection. “One of the workers came and saw me with the baby and took the baby out of my hands. Somebody tried to resuscitate the baby, but the baby was gone,” she said.©2022 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.