This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Man Killed Himself And Two Kids By Crashing Into Truck, Wife Says
A car crashed into a big rig early Monday morning in Castaic, killing a father and his two young children. And now investigators are looking into whether the father purposely crashed his car, while he was in the midst of a nasty divorce and custody battle.
The family, Alan Dean Edwards, 46, Erick Dean Edwards, 9, and Alona Marie Edwards, 5, died on impact in the tragic crash that took place around 1 a.m. when Edwards' white 1997 Honda Accord smashed into the back of a big rig legally parked off the 5 Freeway in the Whittaker brake-check area, according to KTLA. When police found the family, the boy, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and the daughter, in the back seat, both weren't wearing seatbelts.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives have found some evidence that leads them to believe the crash could have been deliberate. "They found that the driver had to make several maneuvers to put himself in the path directly to collide with the tractor-trailer,” Sheriff’s homicide Lt. Eddie Hernandez told KTLA. "Had he fallen asleep, he probably would have collided into … a fence."
They didn't find any skid marks on the road, and could not find any evidence that Edwards tried to use his brakes. Upon searching the father's home, they found the car's airbag sensors there, which makes them think he may have disabled the airbags prior to the family's car ride.
“We learned also that he and his wife were going through a bitter custody battle,” Hernandez told the Santa Clarita Valley-Signal.
Edwards estranged wife, Sherri Edwards, said that she believed it a murder-suicide. On Sunday, he picked up the children from school. Sherri later found the doors to her Lancaster home unlocked, with her husband's ID, keys and her son's asthma medication left behind, things she felt were "red flags." She filed a kidnapping report with the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
"All what he was going through that possibly made him, made him snap, and to me it seems like an acute case of depression," neighbor Kevin Parham told KABC. "He was on the verge of being homeless, no job, he wanted, I think, joint custody of the kids. That didn't happen."
This is a photo of the crash and of Alan Edwards:
A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up for Sherri here.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.