LOS ANGELES - A Northridge family returning home from a graduation party had their lives forever changed when a horrific crash in Porter Ranch left a mother dead, three children ages 12 and under injured, with the father facing possible manslaughter charges.
Police investigators said around 11:40 p.m. Thursday, a man was driving a Lexus sedan that was carrying four others. The driver lost control and crashed into an embankment on the westbound lanes of the 118 Freeway just before the Reseda Boulevard exit. The family became trapped as the crash severed the car’s fuel line, which caused the vehicle to erupt in flames.
Four off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers who were returning home witnessed the crash and jumped for help and called for further assistance. They braved the flames and rescued three children and their father. Despite the heroic effort of the officers, officials said the 31-year-old mother died at the scene.
The mother was identified by authorities as Zeomara Cohen of Northridge.
Officials with the California Highway Patrol said the driver of the Lexus was the victim’s husband. The father, along with his three children, were taken to a hospital.
The father, identified as 31-year-old David Cohen, was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. He also faces possible manslaughter charges in the deadly crash.
During the rescue, three other vehicles passing the scene were involved in a collision and two of the eight people involved were left with serious injuries.
The freeway was closed for hours for the investigation. All lanes have since reopened.