WHITTIER — A 21-year-old Whittier woman died early Thursday after her car collided with a tree along Mar Vista Street, officials said.
Britney Reyes was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which took place just after 4:15 a.m. on Mar Vista Street near York Avenue, just east of College Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Larry Dietz.
Initial investigation indicated the Volkswagen sedan was westbound on Mar Vista Street when it struck the center median and went out of control, ultimately striking a tree along the south side of the roadway, Whittier police Lt. Randy Inman said.
The tree then toppled onto the vehicle, police said.
Reynaldo Macias said he heard the crash from his home nearby and rushed outside to help.
“I dialed 9-1-1 because just from the sound of it, I knew it was bad,” he said.
When he reached the wreckage, another man was already standing nearby and speaking with rescuers on a cell phone, Macias said. The driver was not immediately visible.
“I moved the tree branch from the car, and I saw the young lady there,” Macias said.
“She moved her arm, then her head, a couple minutes apart, so I thought she was going to be okay,” he said. “I was talking to her. I said, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, hello, hello, so she wouldn’t be alone.”
Police officers and paramedics arrived a short time later, Macias said.
“Me and another gentleman said a prayer because we saw them covering her up.”
Macias said he was worried there might be an injured child in the car after seeing a child seat and the badly crushed rear passenger compartment of the car, however investigators ultimately determined the woman was alone in the car.
Macias said the stretch of road is a common place for accidents.
“It seems like every 30 days, someone crashes (there),” he said. “People go way too fast. Something needs to be done.”
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Whittier Police Department Traffic Bureau. Traffic on Mar Vista was diverted around the crash scene for much of the morning.