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Suspect surrenders in deadly hit-and-run

October 7, 2009 12:16:07 AM PDT
After a 78-year-old woman was killed while crossing the street, a female suspect surrendered to authorities on Wednesday.Police say she is being "vague" about the accident, saying that she doesn't remember much. She is being booked on gross vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

The female victim, Ye Sook Lee, was a regular at the food bank.

"She got out of line, and she went down there to the corner, and she went to cross the corner, and the next thing we know, we hear a boom," said Melvin Faulkner, a food bank employee.

Police said the woman was crossing the intersection at Western Avenue and 79th Street when a dark-colored sedan traveling northbound on Western struck her at 6:05 a.m. She was declared dead at the scene.

"The impact was so great it sounded like two cars colliding," said Derrell Stowers, an eyewitness. "When I heard the bam I turned back around, looking towards where the crosswalk was, and this car had hit this lady and slid across the street."

The LAPD confirmed that the victim was crossing against a red light, and the driver had the right of way, but the motorist never stopped. Rochelle Gilmore, a 54-year-old woman from Gardena, surrendered to authorities on Wednesday afternoon.

"The point of impact is out of the crosswalk," said LAPD Capt. Bob Green.

"When you're involved in an accident like this or a collision of anything like that you need to stop, call the police, render aid if the person is injured, and the problem is a lot less severe and the charges are a lot less severe," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

The suspect's 1996 Mazda Protege has been located and impounded.

Officers say the suspect is facing at least a $150,000 bail.

Locals say more should be done to slow down the traffic on Western Boulevard. The street runs parallel to the 110 Freeway and is often used as an alternate to the clogged freeway.

"This is probably the third or fourth incident in the last three or four months. It's bad. They need to do something, lights, caution sign, something," said Maurice Buckler from South Los Angeles.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD South traffic division at (213) 485-7336.

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