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Elderly Woman Killed as result of Illegal Street Racing Accident


A 90-year-old woman was killed as the result of an illegal street racing accident on Christmas night.

The accident happened about 9 p.m. Two vehicles were racing on southbound Lark Ellen in West Covina. Vincent Lopez, a 30-year-old resident of Rialto, was driving a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Victor Hugo Sanchez was driving a red Ford Escort.

Lopez's Eclipse slammed into a Dodge Caravan carrying Celia La Torre, a 90-year-old West Covina resident. The van was eastbound on Merced Ave. Ms. La Torre was on her way home from the hospital. Her son Jaime Ochoa, 72-years-old, was driving the van.

Ms. La Torre was in a wheelchair in the van at the time of the accident. The impact caused her to be thrown from the wheelchair and the van. She was found on the sidewalk near Lark Ellen Ave. and Merced Ave. Ms. La Torre was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Her son had to be removed from the van with the jaws of life. He suffered a head injury.

Ochoa and Lopez were transported by ambulance to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center for treatment.

According to police, witnesses reported that the racing vehicles ran a red light and that the driver of the Escort, Sanchez, fled the scene of the accident. Officers arrested Sanchez Wednesday morning in Pomona.

Both drivers involved in the street race were booked on suspicion of murder. Lopez was also arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Occupants of both vehicles involved in the street race were believed to have just left a bar in the 200 block of Glendora Ave. prior to the collision.

If you or someone you care about has suffered injury or death as the result of a street racing accident, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. McGee, Lerer & Associates has handled many accidents which have resulted from illegal street races. We have offices in Long Beach, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. Contact our firm for a free consultation. A lawyer at our firm is available 24/7 to take your call.