By City News Service and Craig Clough
A woman jumped or was pushed out of a car before being struck by other vehicles and killed Thurday morning on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway in Sylmar, and police were treating the death as a homicide.
"Clearly, something was amiss in the car," said Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Division detectives.
"A struggle? An argument? Pushed? Jumped out? It's hard to classify her death without knowing the details of what happened in the car," Vernon said.
The body was reported at 1:05 a.m. near Polk Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A Los Angeles police sergeant at the Valley Traffic Division said the case was being investigated as a homicide. The body apparently came out of a red car whose driver did not stop, police said.
Several Montrose-La Crescenta Patch readers said they saw the aftermath of the incident, which caused a huge early morning jam along the 210. The eastbound lanes were closed down until about 9:42 p.m., according to the LAPD.
Reader Chris Hutchins said on our Facebook page: "Took me almost 2 hours to get from Newhall to Pasadena!"
Vernon said the woman appeared to be in her 30s and had a quarter-size tattoo of some kind of emblem and some "written script text, possibly in a foreign font" on her neck.
She was alive when she exited the vehicle, he said without elaboration, adding that the driver of the first car that hit her stopped but other drivers may have been unaware that they had struck a body.
One witness said he tried to wave oncoming traffic away from the downed woman, but to no avail.
"It was a valiant effort, but before our good Samaritan could coax the woman to safety, a passing car struck the victim" Vernon continued. "As she lay on the pavement, several cars and trucks ran over the body. The witness tried to stop traffic but to no avail. Our witness really deserves a lot of credit for risking her life."
The only available description of the vehicle in which the woman was a passenger was that it was a red car weaving wildly across lanes when the passenger door flew open, Vernon said.
"The question of the day is: What happened in that car and by what means did the victim leave the car?" Vernon said. "The first step will be to identify the woman. That will open the case up and lead us to her family and probably that car."
The eastbound side of the freeway was closed at Maclay Street, as were the transition roads from the north- and southbound Golden State (5) Freeway to the eastbound 210, according to the CHP.
The CHP reopened the eastbound 210 freeway and all its connector roads at 9:42 a.m., said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.