Cops: He Intentionally Drove Into Big Rig, With 4 Kids in Tow

Cesar Iban Torres, charged with girlfriend's murder, reportedly claimed God spoke to him
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2021 11:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A California man was trying to kill his girlfriend and four children when he drove his SUV into a tractor-trailer on a freeway Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The female passenger was killed, though the four children, ages 1 to 7, survived with moderate injuries, per the Los Angeles Times. Cesar Iban Torres, 31, now faces one count of murder, four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. Investigators say he was driving on Interstate 101 in Encino around 7pm Thursday when his SUV crossed into incoming traffic and hit the tractor-trailer head-on, killing 26-year-old Aimee Garcia, per the AP.

Garcia's brother, Juan Zavala, says Torres called him hours before the crash, claiming "God talked to him" and told him "to give his family to God," per KABC. Zavala tells KTLA that he was on the phone with his sister, a victim of domestic violence, ahead of the crash and heard the couple arguing. He adds a nephew in the SUV later told him the couple had been fighting over the steering wheel and that ultimately "mommy saved us," per KABC. "Unfortunately, my sister sacrificed herself for her kids," Zavala tells KTLA. "It just hurts that the kids are going to grow up without a mother." Authorities say Torres tried to flee the scene before his arrest. He was tased and "hog-tied" on the freeway after trying to fight with officers, per KABC. He's held on $1 million bail ahead of his Tuesday arraignment. (Read more murder stories.)

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