LANCASTER – A 71-year-old Lancaster woman was killed when a suspected drunken driver crashed his pickup truck into her home and crushed her while she slept in her bed Sunday night, authorities said.
The crash happened around 10:55 p.m. Sunday, March 29, in the 1000 block of West Avenue J-12, according to Sgt. David Jennings of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
Preliminary information indicated the driver, 25-year-old Aaron Daniel Benson, crashed his 2001 Toyota Tacoma into several parked cars on both sides of the street as he moved westbound on Avenue J-12 before slamming into the home, said Jennings.
“Alcohol appears to be a factor in the collision,” Jennings stated. “The driver (Benson) was booked at Lancaster Sheriff’s Station for vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence of alcohol.”
The victim’s name has not yet been released pending next of kin notification, but neighbors Sunday night said the victim was an older woman who lived alone.
Monique, who lives about four houses down from the crash scene, said she came outside when she heard the crash.
“I seen a big ball of smoke,” Monique said, adding that neighbors ran into the home to render assistance following the crash.
“Two of them went inside the house looking for the lady because we know there’s an older lady that lives in the home by herself,” Monique said. “Then the driver of the truck emerged and he was freaking out, walking all over the place, didn’t know what to do… he was just pacing and holding his head and saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, what did I do.’”
The neighbor who searched the home said the victim was pinned underneath the truck.
“We moved a couple things, saw something that we thought was her, and we told the fire department to move the truck and it was her,” the neighbor said, before he was overcome with emotion.
The elderly woman, who was the only person inside the home at the time of the collision, was found in her bed, underneath the vehicle, according to Sgt. Jennings. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel, Jennings added.
Investigators are asking for the public’s assistance and are encouraging anyone who may have witnessed this collision to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station at 661-948-8466.
Benson, a Lancaster resident, remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. He is due in court April 2, according to LASD inmate records.
This is the second time within the last year that a suspected drunk driver plowed into an Antelope Valley home and caused a deadly crash.
On Sunday, April 20, 2014, Roberto Rodriguez careened his Nissan Pathfinder through a first floor apartment on the 1000 block of East Avenue R in Palmdale. Giselle Mendoza, a 16-year-old Palmdale High School student, was killed as she slept in her bed. Rodriguez is currently awaiting trial for murder. [Read more here.]
Related story: Murder trial ordered in fatal Easter Sunday apartment crash