Tears and trauma follow Highland Park freeway crash

The blackened wreckage has been cleared and traffic once again zoomed past the scene of Friday night’s fiery freeway crash in Highland Park that claimed the life of an 11-month-old girl.  But the Highland Park residents who heard and tried to rescue Leiana Ramirez  from the backseat of her car are still trying to get over the trauma from the deadly crash on the Arroyo Seco Parkway. It’s one of the many accidents residents have witnessed over the years in the freeway lanes across the street from their homes, according to an L.A. Times story.  Residents like Dilia Aviña who live near Bridewell and Hough streets have been through this before, but this accident was different, said the Times:

They’ve all helped with their share of accidents. They’ve run to get water, juice and blankets, jumped over the fence to pull panicked drivers and passengers out of oncoming traffic. They remember the cars — a van, a truck, a motorcycle — and they remember the faces — a nurse, a priest, a young student.

But this time it was a child.

“A little child,” said Aviña, who tried to help on Friday with her garden hose. “And there was nothing we could do about it.”

A small shrine of flickering candles, stuffed animals, flowers and a note addressed to “Sweet Little Girl”  had been set up near the crash scene.


  1. It’s about time they redid this “freeway.” The way the road curves, the width of the lanes and lack of shoulder space leaving zero room for error, the onramps that are about ten feet long going directly into traffic that’s coming around a blind spot…it’s surprising more accidents don’t occur here.

  2. The speed limit must be strictly enforced on this freeway. As it is, the speed limit is 55MPH, people routinely treat the 110 like any freeway, going 65MPH-plus. I never see officers giving out tickets on this road.

    And I’ll never understand why people drive in the right lane on this road, with people merging from a dead stop into that lane. Thru traffic should be in the center and left lane. This should be clearly marked. They could install signs and also install those wider reflectors that make the right lane look like an ‘exit only’ lane. These measures would get people to merge over.

    God bless the locals who aid distressed drivers. Some speed enforcement & “thru traffic merge left” marking would save lives.

  3. I was in a car accident this past December on that freeway. Now the few times I pass by this freeway it freaks me out, and cars there need to “SLOW’ down.

  4. worst freeway ever. literally ever. and the story of this accident is haunting. it kept me up last night. heartbreaking for that family and for the witnesses but so amazing that there are still people who come to others’ aid.

  5. I don’t understand how it is even possible for caltrans (ladot?) to set the speed limit higher than what the road was designed for to travel safely. At what point do they decide saving lives is more important than moving traffic quickly?

  6. I love this roadway. I drive it every day, and I would hate to see it straightened and turned into another generic freeway. That said, I think it’s imperative that the speed limit is changed to 45 mph, which means people would drive it at 55 mph instead of the current 65 mph. I agree with E that signs should encourage the right lane to be an access/exit lane only. Also, in all fairness, I have seen the highway patrol to be very active on this road. However, you will not see them giving out tickets, because they exit the cars before getting out to cite them. When driving north on Friday evening I saw the car covered with a sheet. I took that to mean that there had been a fatality, but I could not have imagined the extent of the tragedy. My heart goes out to the mother and to the nearby residents who were there to try and help.

  7. Terrible tragedy. Never stop in lanes on a freeway. Also, especially if you have a child, it’s a good idea to have a Life Hammer in your car. With it you can break car windows and cut seat belts. I’m not saying this to blame or minimize loss, just that Caltrans is not going to re do this freeway, so it’s up to each of us to drive defensively and take precautions.

  8. @busytimmy, thanks for the tip.

  9. Unfortunately they just re did the roads and spend i don’t know how many millions.Not that i want to turn away from this story(i’ve had my share of crashes.near dead experiences on this stretch but why is it that the roads were closed and slowed down for a year or more and the holes back already,after a few months and are bigger than before?Somehow this was a bad repair/re-do job and i wonder who decided to have this done,who and why the people that did it get the job and most of all why the pot holes are there,on a brand new road. It’s a crime.

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