Photo: Irma Zamora's husband (R) and sister (L) grieve after she was electrocuted trying to help an accident victim
A car accident in Los Angeles’ Valley Village neighborhood saw a surprisingly tragic end when two women attempting to help at the scene were killed when they stepped into electrified water on Wednesday.
Irma Zamora, 40, of Burbank, and her husband were driving in the Los Angeles neighborhood when they came upon a wrecked SUV at Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue.
Though her husband asked her to stay in their vehicle, Zamora wanted to make sure the driver and anyone else involved in the accident was okay, something her sister said was typical of Zamora.
The SUV, which was driven by an unnamed 19-year-old, had reportedly been speeding when it attempted to make a right turn from the left lane. As a result, the vehicle hit a fire hydrant, knocking it over, and a concrete light standard.
While water surrounded the wrecked SUV, Zamora went to check on the driver. What she hadn’t realized was that due to the downed power lines, the water from the hydrant had become electrified. The moment her foot stepped into the water, Zamora was electrocuted. Witnesses say they watched in horror as she stood there and shook with an estimated 48,000 volts coursing through her body.
As her husband ran to help her, he was restrained by others at the scene who didn’t not want him to be electrocuted.
With emergency crews still on the way and more people arriving every minute, witnesses described the scene as “chaotic,” with many not realizing why no one had rushed to help Zamora.
Twin brothers Skyler and Beau Maxon, 23, from a nearby apartment building soon arrived. Skyler attempted to help Zamora and was shocked. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive his injuries. However, while the Beau helped his brother he saw a woman running to help Zamora. Unable to warn her in time, witnesses once again watched as a woman, 39-year-old Stacey Schreiber, was electrocuted.
When the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived, they retrieved the women’s bodies using a special glass pole. They were unable to resuscitate either.
On Thursday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city officials visited the site. He acknowledged Schreiber and Zamora’s heroic instinct to helped, but warned that in emergency situations such as Wednesday’s, it is important to assess the situation and wait for emergency responders.
The speed limit in that area is 35 mph and police believe the driver was traveling at a speed well above the limit - witnesses estimating about 70 mph. A witness told the Los Angeles Times the SUV “was flying” as it passed her and a friend standing on the sidewalk. It is likely the driver of the SUV was racing with another car scene just prior to the crash. It is not uncommon for drivers to race each other on that stretch of road.