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Pedestrians cautioned after fatal crash

April 1, 2009 7:17:02 AM PDT
Two women were killed and a man was critically injured after they were hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk in West Hollywood.The accident happened during rush-hour traffic at the intersection of Fountain and La Brea. Two cars were traveling on La Brea, one traveling north, the other traveling south, when a black Toyota made a left turn at Fountain.

The light was allegedly yellow, but the intersection was not clear.

The Toyota clipped the tail of a maroon Honda, which spun out and hit three pedestrians who had just stepped into a marked crosswalk.

Alina Sheyman from West Hollywood and Maria Velasquez from Glendale, both in their 70s, were killed. One of the victims was thrown on the sidewalk and died instantly, while the other was transported to a hospital, where she later died. A 45-year-old man is still in critical condition in the hospital, and the two drivers involved suffered minor injuries.

Residents in the area were upset and concerned by the fatal collision.

"I walk every day in this area, and sometimes I even cross the street not exactly in the crosswalk, so it was very frightening," said witness Rebecca Evans.

Investigators said they are unsure if anyone did anything criminally wrong, and the accident may have just been a freak accident.

No one has been arrested.

La Brea is a very busy corridor, and there are persistent problems with drivers running red lights. For that reason, traffic cameras are posted, which police say they will be reviewing.

Several factors multiply the hazards for pedestrians at the intersection of Fountain and La Brea. It is the crossroads of two very busy thoroughfares, it's a densely populated area and there is a large immigrant population that walks and crosses dangerous intersections.

"I've seen some people almost get run over before," said Kenny Leslie, a pedestrian. "I've almost got run over before."

Eyewitness News Reporters Miram Hernandez and Robert Holguin contributed to this report.


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