Driver arrested on suspicion of murder in Porter Ranch crash that killed two teens
Police have arrested a man suspected of killing two teenagers — an 11-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl — in a head-on crash that also injured two other people Friday in Porter Ranch, a few blocks north of downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.
Christopher Ponte, 28, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder and other felony counts including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Police said Ponte was driving a truck loaded with boxes, when it struck two other vehicles on Pacific Highway near La Paloma Street just after noon Friday, apparently killing the two teens and injuring the drivers of a third and a fourth vehicle.
The first two people to arrive at the scene of the crash, two witnesses, said Ponte appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when he was driving the truck, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
A third person, who was the driver of the vehicle Ponte was driving, was treated for minor injuries.
The investigation is ongoing, but the driver of the second car who stopped to render aid was interviewed at the scene, as was the driver of the third car who stopped to assist, according to the statement.
Also, the owner of a black sedan who was driving in front of the truck was interviewed and said he smelled of alcohol after the crash, according to the statement.
“It appears that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision,” the sheriff’s statement said.
The crash was first reported about a minute before noon on Friday, according to CalFire, the public safety agency that provides fire and medical services to Porter Ranch.
The first person to report the crash was a woman who was driving on Pacific Highway about a mile west of La Paloma Street when she saw the truck driving erratically through stop signs, the sheriff’s statement said.
She called 911, and deputies arrived in minutes to find the two teenagers already dead at the scene