WEST COVINA — Police suspect alcohol or drugs were involved in a fatal crash that killed a 17-year-old El Monte girl late Tuesday on the San Bernardino (10) Freeway.
Jessica Rose Luna, 17, of El Monte died in the 11:30 p.m. crash near Pacific Avenue in a construction zone, according to Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
Arianna Maldonado, 21, of West Covina was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, officials said.
“Ms. Maldonado’s Toyota Corolla was traveling at an unsafe speed as she approached (stopped traffic),” California Highway Patrol Sgt. John Escobedo said.
Maldonado veered to the left and collided with left, rear portion of a Jeep Cherokee, then continued west and struck a Nissan 240SX, he said.
“Ms. Jessica Luna was seated in the rear passenger seat of the Toyota Corolla and was not wearing a seat belt,” Escobedo said. “She sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision.”
She was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:40 p.m., Dietz said.
Maldonado and the two injured passengers were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment, officials said. Maldonado had not been booked Wednesday afernoon, according to sheriff’s booking records.
No one inside the Jeep or Nissan was injured in the crash, authorities said.
Maldonado and two other passengers in the car — another 17-year-old girl and another 21-year-old woman — suffered injuries described as moderate.
Maldonado was on formal probation at the time of the crash, according to county booking records and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison. She pleaded “no contest” to charges of commercial burglary and receiving stolen property in July in El Monte Superior Court.
The crash occurred just east of a planned freeway closure. Traffic was being directed to exit at the Puente Avenue offramp, officials said.
Officials moved the freeway closure east from Puente Avenue to Pacific Avenue for about three hours as they investigated the scene.