The 24-year-old driver was headed north on South Central Avenue at about 12:16 a.m. when she swerved and crashed into an apartment in the 2800 block, Los Angeles Police Lt. Nate Williams told reporters at the scene.
The boy and four family members — his parents and two other children — were inside the apartment. When the woman’s vehicle rammed into the apartment and through a bedroom, the boy’s father was trapped beneath the vehicle, he said. The boy was pinned under his father.
Two girls were also injured.
Los Angeles firefighters worked to rescue the boy and his father, who were under the vehicle and mounds of debris, according to Brian Humphrey, an L.A. Fire Department spokesman.
“The 5-year-old was most severely trapped,” he said in a statement. The boy and his father were freed from the wreckage and taken to an area hospital. The boy later died.
Humphrey said the driver was in fair condition.
The driver told police she swerved because a vehicle cut her off, but investigators later discovered she was driving under the influence and took her into custody, Williams said. Police were looking into whether a second vehicle was involved in the crash and fled the scene, he said.
Investigators were still sifting through the apartment early Thursday. Police the boy had written a note to Santa Claus, asking for a bicycle for Christmas. The note was strewn among wreckage from the crash.