Suspect in deadly Encino wrong-way crash charged with murder, child abuse

ENCINO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A 31-year-old man has been charged with murder for the wrong-way crash on the 101 Freeway in Encino that killed his girlfriend and injured their four children.

Cesar Iban Torres has been charged with one count of murder and four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse, in addition to assault and resisting arrest, according to the office of District Attorney George Gascon.

Torres is expected to be arraigned in a Van Nuys courtroom on Tuesday.

Authorities say Torres drove his SUV into wrong-way traffic on the 101 on Aug. 12, smashing into a tractor trailer. His girlfriend, 26-year-old Aimee Garcia, died after the crash, while their four children were injured and brought to a local hospital.

Authorities say Torres tried to flee the scene and then resisted arrest.

He was hogtied and arrested on the freeway after California Highway Patrol says he fought officers. A Taser was also used on Torres.

Garcia's brother, Juan Zavala, says hours before the crash, Torres called him and made bizarre and disturbing comments.

"And he said... God talked to him and he said he has to give his family to God, and I'm like no, what are you talking about? Come back," Zavala said.

Zavala said he tried to locate the family but had no luck. He said one of his nephews in the SUV told him his parents were struggling for control of the steering wheel before the collision.

"He said 'mommy saved us,' and that broke my heart," Zavala said.

A GoFundMe page established for Garcia says she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Torres for many years.

Funds raised from the GoFundMe page will help pay for Garcia's funeral and help support her children.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.