Crash kills passenger, driver arrested for DUI

A 29-year-old passenger was thrown onto the roadway and killed when the driver lost control of his vehicle on the 14 Freeway near Avenue N. The driver was arrested and alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor. (Photos by LUIS MEZA)

A 29-year-old passenger was thrown onto the roadway and killed Saturday night when a driver lost control of his vehicle on the 14 Freeway, near Avenue N. The driver was arrested and alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor. (Photos by LUIS MEZA)

ANTELOPE VALLEY – A male passenger is dead and a driver is in custody after a high-speed crash Saturday night, authorities said.

Elder Higueros, 29, of Van Nuys was arrested, and alcohol was believed to be a contributing factor in the single-vehicle collision, which occurred around 9:16 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, just south of Avenue N, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

14 Fwy fatal1A preliminary investigation revealed Higueros was speeding northbound on the 14 Freeway, in a 2007 Toyota, when the vehicle drifted off the left side of the roadway onto the dirt median, the CHP report states.

Higueros lost control, and the Toyota careened back across the roadway and plowed through a wood/metal guardrail on the east road edge. The vehicle continued out of control and traveled up a dirt embankment before flipping onto its side in the No. 3 lane, the CHP report states.

14 Fwy fatal2The front seat passenger was thrown from the vehicle onto the roadway and pronounced dead at the scene, according to CHP officials.

The No. 2 and No. 3 lanes of the 14 Freeway, near the Avenue N exit, were blocked for approximately four hours as CHP personnel investigated the incident.

The collision remains under investigation.

Higueros was booked at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station around 3:45 a.m. Sunday on $1 million bail.

UPDATED @ 8:15 pm: The deceased has been identified as 29-year-old Joseph Ralph Contreraz of Arleta, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

  25 comments for “Crash kills passenger, driver arrested for DUI

  1. local boy
    February 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I too witnessed this horrible tragedy, approximately 2 minutes after impact. I was driving north on 14, was passed by off duty lapd motor unit, who was right there when it happened. Slow down 14, and stop drinking and driving…This is what happens with speed and alcohol, innocent victims. This corridor is dangerous, continuous action in this area. God bless the families of the victim.

  2. whatstherealissue
    February 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Seems that fingers are being pointed…unfortunately the true issue is someone was drinking and driving. Maybe instead of pointing fingers we should help each other out when at parties and tell those that are drinking they should not be driving. Maybe the responsiblity should be on the party host. The police are not the issue. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Joe.

    • Sandra
      April 16, 2013 at 7:51 am

      The host was the victims family. Talk about irony.

      • Lisa, Joe's Sister
        May 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

        Just for your information “Sandra” & “whatstherealissue” the driver ELDER had already been drinking before he got to our house, it was a FAMILY gathering, he (Elder) should have never been there with us. But for what ever the reason, he showed up and talked my brother into going to Lancaster. Joseph didn’t want to go, but he did in the end. So get your info straight before you post the trash talk!! or point the fingers.

  3. Lynn
    February 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    There was film on the news about this. The camera panned the scene showing some guns and other debris on the road. I’m curious as to what these people had been doing besides drinking and driving recklessly?

    • Esther
      February 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      If you had looked closely those were paintball guns . Joe was a noble man and would never ever hurt anyone!

    • Lisa, Joe's Sister
      May 30, 2013 at 11:38 am

      The car belonged to the driver Elder, all that stuff the news showed belonged to him, and it did make people think they were doing something other than driving up there. but like Esther said they were paintball guns. The news people need to rethink things out before flashing news and pictures before they upset family and friends and making someone out to be something that they are not.

  4. Mary
    February 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Was driving home that night and saw this crash. It really shook me up. May he rest in peace. And I have been praying for the family that mourns this lose

    • Julia
      February 18, 2013 at 2:11 am

      I was on the scene less than a minute after the crash, and pulled over to call 911. At that time the car was smoking, and I was afraid it would catch fire. I stayed there until the first officer arrived, but clearly the passenger was beyond help and the driver in a state of disbelief. It upset me terribly also, I just stood by him and prayed for mercy for him and his family. I am so sorry for their loss. Life changes in the blink of an eye, I know, I lost my sister in a plane explosion…God Bless…

      • anonymous
        February 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        That was Elders best friend Joe was a good guy may he rest in peace..this is such a horrible situation

        • Lisa, Joe's Sister
          May 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

          In our eyes a so called “Best Friend” wouldn’t have done this to his “Friend”

  5. Leo
    February 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Joe was a great guy. He will be missed.

  6. Michael Rives
    February 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I was on the 14 on Saturday morning and afternoon. The ‘ Chippies’ were patrolling the freeway more than I have ever seen. I don’t know if they were patrolling the freeway in the evening hours, but, for me, it is always a great sight to see them monitoring the speeds. Is it really necessary to drive 80 mph on the 14?

  7. Juan Garcia
    February 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I will miss a good friend

  8. Johanna
    February 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    RIP Joseph, ill miss you so much … Ill never forget the good times we shared <3 May Gob bless your family, your mom & dad, you were their baby, and your sisters you loved your niece and nephews so much, you were so close with your family & friends …Rip my friend <3 I love you

    • J.Antonovich
      February 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      what is wrong with SOME of these people that go on this site?? scumbags,… could anyone give a “thumbs down” to this message!?….it is clear that this person loved and missed her friend

  9. dumbandblind
    February 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Where are the checkpoints when you need one.

    • jules
      February 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

      The checkpoints cant get everyone. The CHP and Police seem to be more alert as far as patrolling goes after someone dies. They should patrol more often and not after the fact.

    • James Stouvenel
      February 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      the CHP does not do checkpoints on the freeway, its too dangerous, and there are way more cars on the freeway than local streets, a speeding car or vehicle could hit a patrolman walking along the shoulder or what not, caltrans has had this very issue with road construction areas as of late, thats why CHP only does it on surface streets not freeways.

    • Thomas
      February 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Where is a designated driver when you need one?

      • SpareThePropaganda
        February 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm


  10. February 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Drunk driving is far too common.

    • dumbandblind
      February 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Ban alcohol not guns.

      • Citizen of Lancaster
        February 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

        We tried that once before – the 18th and the 22 Amendments. Hopefully those laws banning guns will meet the same fate.

Comments are closed.