Good Samaritans killed helping after LA crash

The driver of a white SUV plowed into a fire hydrant and power pole in Valley Village on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. Two Good Samaritans were killed trying to help the driver and five others were injured as well.

August 23, 2012 9:50:29 AM PDT
Two Good Samaritans were electrocuted and several others were injured Wednesday night while coming to the rescue of a man who crashed into a hydrant and knocked down a live electric wire in Los Angeles.

The single-vehicle crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on the 12000 block of Magnolia Boulevard near Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Authorities said the driver lost control of his vehicle when he attempted to make a turn from Magnolia Boulevard, according to KABC-TV.

A woman who lived in a nearby residence rushed out to help the driver, was shocked by water energized by the power line and later died. A husband and wife passing by in a vehicle stopped to help. That woman also was electrocuted. Police identified one of the victims as 41-year-old Irma Zamora.

As more people approached the scene to help, more of them were shocked. Witnesses said they heard people screaming.

"There was some gentleman going, "Don't touch her! Don't touch her!' Then there was somebody else going, 'Somebody help her! Somebody pull her out!'" said witness Everett Hernandez. "I saw people. It looked like they were wrestling...but what they were really doing is they were pulling people from getting electrocuted because there was a live wire under the water."

Investigators said that eight people in total were injured, including a police officer. Five people were taken to a hospital and one was treated at the scene. The driver sustained minor injuries.

Investigators said excessive speed was likely a factor of the crash. Alcohol was not believed to be involved.

"This is one of those cases where the village came to help and the villagers suffered as a result of their good will. It's an unfortunate situation," said Capt. Peter Whittingham of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officials from the Department of Water and Power want to remind people who come across downed power lines to stay in their vehicles and not touch anyone who is in contact with the power source.