LA Road-Rage Crash Smashes Woman, Children Between Cars

A road-rage crash critically injured a mother and her two small children, who were crushed between parked cars, police said Wednesday.

Two men were booked for investigation of attempted murder in connection with the crash Tuesday in the San Fernando Valley.

The drivers of a black Nissan Maxima and a red Chevrolet Camaro got into a dispute shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Van Nuys area and began racing and weaving along city streets at 50 mph to 90 mph, police said.

The cars were "cutting each other off, they were jockeying for position," Detective Bill Butos said. "They were tapping on the brakes, one of the vehicles was tapping on the brakes, trying to cause the other vehicle to ram into the vehicle."

In Reseda, the Camaro slammed on its brakes and the Nissan tried to avoid it and hit a parked car, Officer Jason Lee said.

A 31-year-old woman and her two children were smashed between parked cars.

Police did not release their names. However, relatives identified the woman as Syeda Arif.

The woman was in critical condition Wednesday at a hospital.

"She has lost one leg and the other leg is, unfortunately, crushed. They're trying to save that," Lee said.

Her 4-year-old son was hospitalized on life support and his 8 1/2-month old sister was hospitalized in critical condition, Lee said.

Witnesses said the younger child was "launched into the air and slammed against a tree, " police Capt. Ron Marbrey said.

Arif's husband, Amir Arif, told KCAL-TV that his son had massive brain damage.

"It's a matter of time that doctor will take out his life support ... my son dies," he said.

The Nissan driver, Armando Gamboa Ayon, 19, of Pacoima, was arrested at the scene and the Camaro's driver, Brian Barnes, 44, of Northridge, later surrendered at a police station. Both were booked for investigation of attempted murder and held on bail of $1.5 million each, police said.

"That could change if the 4-year-old ends up dying. It would be a murder charge," Lee said.

There was no answer at a phone number listed for a Brian Barnes in Northridge Wednesday evening. There was no listing for Gamboa Ayon in Pacoima or the surrounding area.

The crash was "entirely senseless, entirely the basis of two individuals that got into a contest of wills, if you will, over nothing more than a common traffic dispute ... over nothing more than whose car is on the roadway in front of the other person," Deputy Chief Michael Moore said.