Man, woman decapitated after car slams into big rig on 5 Freeway in San Fernando Valley

A tow truck waits in front of a big rig's load on a road surrounded by grass and trees.
An investigation is underway after two people were killed in a crash involving a big rig along the southbound 5 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley early Sunday. A sedan rear-ended the tractor trailer, which was parked on the right shoulder.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)

A man and a woman were decapitated Sunday in a car wreck on the 5 Freeway, officials with the California Highway Patrol said.

Authorities said alcohol and excessive speed may have been factors in the crash, which occurred just before 1 a.m. in the southbound lanes near the 405 Freeway exchange around Sylmar and Mission Hills.

The man, identified Monday as Juan Carlos Menjivar, 37, of Winnetka, was driving a 2010 Lexus sedan with 33-year-old Ana Elena Moreno Santos of Los Angeles riding as a passenger.

The Lexus slammed into the back of a big rig that was parked on the right shoulder of the freeway after Menjivar “failed to maintain the curve in the roadway before traveling out of control,” CHP officials said in a statement.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene after suffering “major trauma to the head,” CHP spokesman Ramondo Alexander said.


Video from the scene captured by KTLA-TV Channel 5 showed the mangled wreckage of the car.

The driver of the big rig, a 35-year-old man who did not wish to be identified, told the outlet that the silver sedan caught fire after the crash.

“All I felt was a major hit,” he said. “I felt like I was hit by a semi.”

The driver of the big rig was not injured in the crash.