Two women were fatally electrocuted after a Valley Village car accident on Thursday, August 23, 2012, when the first went to help the injured driver of a car accident and the second when she went to help the first woman. Several others reportedly suffered less serious electrical burn injuries and are expected to make a full recovery.
Apparently, the driver, a 19 year old from Glendale, driving a sports utility vehicle (SUV), lost control of his vehicle, possibly due to high speed, when traveling through the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue, striking a concrete light standard and fire hydrant with such force to knock them both over. This created a dangerous and deadly combination as water quickly pooled into the intersection, causing the wrongful death of two good Samaritans and severe injuries to others who were electrocuted and burned.
One passerby, Irma Zamora, reportedly called 911 then rushed from her vehicle and ran to assist the driver of the SUV. Unbeknownst to her, the water in the intersection was electrified and when she stepped into the water she was immediately electrocuted to death. The fire department estimated that her wrongful death was caused by approximately 48,000 volts of electricity. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mrs. Zamora, age 40, of Burbank, Los Angeles County, was known as one to help others. According to family members, her selfless action was typical.
Another woman, not yet identified, also died when, as she tried to help Mrs. Zamora and touched her, she also was electrocuted to death. Reportedly, at least six (6) others, including the driver of the SUV and a Los Angeles police officer, were electrocuted, severely injured and required hospitalization.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited the Valley Village traffic collision site, praising the two good Samaritans as heroes. He also reminded others to carefully assess such situations before rushing into them and to wait for professionals to arrive.
One former resident of Valley Village who is very knowledgeable about car accidents and electricity, R. Freeman, advised that after a car accident one should never go near pooled water when there is a damaged electrical device, such as a damaged power pole, that could possibly electrify the pooled water and, in fact, one should move far away as quickly as possible and wait for the fire department to handle the situation.