Fatal Early Morning Collision Investigation
Los Angeles: On March 5, 2003, at approximately 4:30 a.m., a fatal collision occurred when a 1978 Cadillac traveling eastbound on Manchester Avenue made an unsafe lane change in front of a 2002 Ford van, which was being driven by a 37 year-old male.
Prior to the collision, a witness, who was traveling eastbound on Manchester Avenue at San Pedro Street, observed the Cadillac in front of him along with the van. Continuing to observe the two vehicles as they traveled eastbound on Manchester Avenue, the witness observed the Cadillac make a lane change from the number two lane into the number one lane directly in front of the van. As a result, the van collided into the left rear quarter panel of the Cadillac, causing both vehicles to swerve out of control in a northeasterly direction. Both the Cadillac and the van crossed over the westbound lanes of Manchester before the Cadillac collided into a large tree located on the north sidewalk in front of 625 East Manchester Avenue. The van collided into the curb and ran up onto the sidewalk before colliding into a building.
Just prior to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s arrival, the Cadillac burst into flames. Upon their arrival, Fire Department personnel removed the Cadillac’s passengers who had sustained major injuries including burns. However, they were unable to extract the driver who was trapped inside the burning vehicle. The driver, an unidentified female, Black, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both Cadillac’s passengers were transported to local hospitals. The male passenger, later identified as Patrick Townsend, 37 years of Los Angeles, was admitted in critical condition. The female, later identified as Candy McDaniel, 42 years of Los Angeles, was admitted in stable condition. The driver of the van sustained facial injuries, and was transported to Martin Luther King Medical Center where he was admitted in stable condition.
Since the driver of the Cadillac did not possess any identification, she remains unidentified pending an examination by the County Coroner. An autopsy will be conducted in order to determine if the driver of the Cadillac was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the collision occurred.
For further information, contact South Traffic Division Detectives at 323-290-6063 or the South Traffic Division Watch Commander at 213-485-7336.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.