The death of a 44-year-old woman on Interstate 5 near Valencia Boulevard Nov. 8 was a suicide, the L.A. County Coroner’s office has ruled.
Destrea Bell Reese, whose city of residence was believed to be Visalia or Bakersfield, suffered “multiple traumatic injuries and died at the scene,” Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. “It was ruled a suicide.”
Reese was killed when struck by a vehicle on northbound I-5 south of Valencia Boulevard just after midnight, Winter said.
The woman was traveling south on Interstate 5 in the No. 3 lane near Valencia Boulevard, a construction area, driving a 2000 Mercedes Benz ML430, said Josh Greengard, the CHP’s public information officer for the Newhall area.
“It appears from preliminary investigations, (the woman) steered (her car) to the left, through the construction cone pattern, and collided with a traffic management arrow board in the No. 2 lane,” Greengard said.
“After the collision, (the woman) exited her vehicle and crossed over the dirt median center divider,” he said. “(She) began crossing the northbound I-5 freeway, and subsequently was struck by a passing vehicle traveling northbound on I-5 freeway.
“CHP and LA County fire arrived on scene and began life-saving measures, but were unsuccessful,” Greengard said. The woman died of her injuries on the scene.
All traffic lanes in the northbound direction were temporarily stopped and diverted off at Valencia Boulevard for approximately 50 minutes following the collision. Afterward, the No. 3 and No. 4 lanes were opened. At approximately 3:23 a.m. hours all lanes were opened.