UPDATED: 3:28 p.m.
Two people have been arrested for causing the deaths of four children in a midnight crash Monday that also resulted in the death of a Frazier Park man on the rain-slicked southbound I-5 freeway.
Victor M. Jarillo, 34, of Los Angeles, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and being an unlicensed driver. His passenger, Joana M. Avina, 27, also of Los Angeles, was taken into custody for providing false information to investigating officers.
The crash was reported at 12:14 a.m. and caused the closure of all southbound traffic lanes just north of the junction with the 14 freeway.
Officer John Lutz, spokesman for the Newhall CHP office said that just before midnight, John J. Blackburn, 54, of Frazier Park, was driving his 1996 Mazda pickup truck southbound on the freeway and, for unknown reasons, swerved and hit the center divider. The truck overturned into traffic lanes, where it was struck by a 1996 Nissan Altima driven by Francisco J. Enciso of Daly City. The Nissan was then struck in the rear by a 1994 Chevy Suburban driven by Jarillo. Along with Avina, Jarillo was carrying two minor passengers, Emmanuel Jarillo, 1, and Jesus Jarillo, 2, both of Los Angeles.
Also in the Nissan were passengers Yessica Milan, 27, her children Cynthia Hernandez, 9, Xochitl Hernandez, 5 and Edgar Hernandez, 8, who live in Whittier and her nephew, Luis Villegas, 16, of Oakland. Enciso suffered major injuries and was transported to Providence Holy Cross Hospital; Milan suffered major injuries and was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. All four children and Blackburn were declared dead at the scene. All of the occupants of the Suburban were taken to HMNMH with minor injuries, where they were treated and released.
The children were wearing seatbelts, but Lutz pointed out that four children were strapped into a seat that only had three seat belts and there was no safety seat for the youngest child.
“Not recovering a child restraint seat, it’s safe to say that the 5-year-old was not properly restrained,” Lutz said.
The southbound lanes of the freeway were closed until 8:30 a.m., severely impacting rush hour traffic at the junction.
Lutz said that some common-sense caution might have prevented the tragic accident.
“It’s really important, people need to know that they need to slow down give people more room,” he said. “Make plans to take a little more time in their travels, and be responsible enough to restrain your passengers as well as your children in child-restraint seats or booster seats.”