Cesar Iban Torres, 31, was charged with one count of murder and four counts of attempted murder last week after authorities say he intentionally drove an SUV carrying his girlfriend and four children on the wrong-side of the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles County. Investigators claim that Torres was trying to cause a crash and kill himself and his family.
Torres’ vehicle did collide with another vehicle, an 18-wheeler. The crash killed his girlfriend, Aimee Garcia, 26. The four children, whose ages range from one to seven, all survived and suffered moderate injuries.
Local news reports state that before the crash Torres sent his brother a message saying, “he has to give his family to God.”
In addition to the murder charges Torres has also been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and four counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.
Rita Campos, an eye witnesses to the immediate aftermath of the fatal crash, spoke to MMA Junkie recently and described how she and former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub intervened at the scene.
In Campos’ statements to MMA Junkie she backed up a version of events Schaub recently shared on his podcast The Fighter and the Kid.
Campos said she stopped at the scene of the crash and noticed Schaub and a few others had done the same. She said while asking Schaub if he had called 911 they both witnessed Torres exit the vehicle and run across the freeway, before getting struck by a black SUV.
She said she and Schaub were among a small group who approached the car Torres is accused of crashing. Campos said Schaub and two other men pried open the door of the SUV and began retrieving the injured children from the vehicle. Campos said that Schaub passed the youngest child over to her.
“He gave me the baby, and I just kind of started focusing on the other kids,” Campos said. “Myself and the other lady, her and I were really focused on the kids and just staying with them. I did lose sight of Brendan at that point, because that must’ve been when he left.”
Campos relayed that she empathized with Schaub’s recent statements regarding how frightening the situation was. She said, like Schaub, she was concerned that a fire or explosion could have happened at the site of the wreck.
“The fuel was all over the place from the initial 18-wheeler that hit the car. It was like waiting to see if the semi was gonna catch fire or anything, because it was just so crazy.”
Campos said Schaub left the scene after all the children were taken from the vehicle and that emergency crews arrived ten minutes later.
Schaub’s account of the accident was met with some skepticism online, with Twitter users wondering if Schaub had embellished details of the event and trumped up his own involvement in the rescue efforts. However, Campos stressed that what the former fighter said was true.
“What I saw, he was definitely extremely active and pulling the doors open and trying to get in and the windows … it looked like he was almost standing on the floorboard to get leverage to pull the doors open from where I was standing. So I do feel his description from what I saw was accurate. He was there a minute or so before I was, but when I rolled up, he was definitely in (the act) of trying to rip the doors open.”