A 5-year-old boy died and many more were injured after a woman who was allegedly driving under the influence crashed her car into an apartment building early Thursday morning in South Los Angeles.
The crash was reported at around 12:17 a.m. in the 2800 block of South Central Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
La Puente woman Vrenda Moreno, 23, told officials that her vehicle slammed into the ground floor of the apartment building because she swerved to avoid a driver who cut her off, said Nate Williams of the LAPD Central Traffic Division. Police said she smelled of alcohol.
The sedan crashed into the wall of a family's bedroom and a man and his 5-year-old child were pinned underneath the vehicle, Williams said. The mother was pinned under debris. Two girls, a 13 or 14-year-old and a 6-year-old, were also inside the apartment and suffered minor injuries. They were all taken to the hospital, Williams said.
The father tried to protect the boy by holding him close to his abdomen, but the 5-year-old later died in the hospital from his injuries, Williams said. The coroner later identified the boy as Luis Sanchez.
A note the little boy had written to Santa Claus, asking for a bike this Christmas, was found in the debris.
Fire officials initially said Sanchez was 5, but the mother kept asking police for her 4-year-old son at the scene, said Sgt. Rafael Quesada of the LAPD Newton Division. Around 10 a.m. Thursday, the coroner's office confirmed Sanchez was 5-years-old.
Moreno was handcuffed and taken to the hospital. She was later booked for vehicular manslaughter — under the influence, according to the LAPD. Her bail was set at $100,000.
Investigators were also searching for another vehicle possibly involved in the crash.