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LAPD investigates fatal Sylmar police crash

April 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators are trying to sort out what happened in a fatal crash involving an LAPD cruiser. A Sylmar woman was killed Wednesday night and two officers were injured. It happened on the 12000 block of North Glen Oaks near the 210 Freeway. LAPD investigators are looking at several factors, including where the victim, 27-year-old Jovanna Lugo, was making a U-turn in the middle of Glenoaks Blvd., and the speed of the police car that hit her. The victim's family has many questions.

"Every day, every day. We travel this street every day," said Myra Lugo, Jovanna's sister.

Every day Jovanna Lugo crossed four lanes of traffic at Glenoaks Blvd. to get to her home to her parents. Lugo was a graduate at University of California-Riverside, a business major who did bookkeeping for the family roofing business. She was married with a 2-year-old son named Leon.

"She was always to go ahead and make everybody happy, everybody better, happier," said Jesus Lugo, Jovanna's father.

The trip to her parents' house was less than 200 yards. The short journey cost her her life. She was going to pick up visiting relatives rather than make them walk across the street.

"That's what she thought about last, you know? That it was too cold for them. Always thinking about others," said Myra.

According to police, Lugo was aligned with northbound traffic and was making a U-turn to go southbound. She was broadsided by a police cruiser that was traveling without lights or sirens.

"In that area, at 8:10 in the evening it's dark, so it might have been difficult to see," said LAPD Traffic Division Detective Bill Bustos.

Police say Lugo needed to drive 40 feet farther to an intersection to make a legal U-turn.

Another question is the speed the cruiser was traveling.

"Glenoaks in that area, it's a 35-mile-per-hour zone," said Bustos.

Collision investigators will determine whether the police car was going too fast. Lugo's car was pushed across the boulevard, bouncing off an iron fence. It is still uncertain whether she was wearing her seatbelt.

"I think that what happened to Jovanna is, it happened for a reason," said Myra Lugo. "And it is to raise this question of speed, procedures, you know, it's somebody's life."

The two officers in the police car did go to the hospital. They suffered moderate injuries but they have been released.

The investigation could take a month to complete.

Investigators are looking for other witnesses. If you have information related to the incident, you're asked to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

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