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Drunken hit-and-run kills Compton student

April 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspect is under arrest after allegedly running his van into two teenage girls, killing one and seriously injuring the other. The crime happened at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Investigators said the two girls were walking about three to five feet away from parked cars on 154th Street and Aprilia Avenue when they were hit by a man driving a gray Mercury Voyager.

People living in nearby houses witnessed the accident and gave police a description which led to the arrest about an hour later. Witnesses also said that the minivan was traveling about 60 miles per hour and showed no signs of braking when the car collided with the girls.

"They were able to locate the vehicle. The driver was still in the car and there was significant damage to the vehicle," said Sgt. Peter Ramirez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Family members identified the girl who was killed as 16-year-old Chanel Lenard. Her friend was injured and taken to Saint Francis Medical Center in Lynwood in serious but stable condition

Lenard's mother said she was a good student at Compton High School and liked to read. Leonard had a curfew Saturday night and was on her way home after attending a party at a friend's house.

"She was sweet. She was true to herself, just down to earth. Her nickname was Weezy. That was her name since she was born," said Chanel's mother.

"I wish that if people want to drink, stay home or catch a cab, you know. This is ridiculous. They're just taking innocent lives, especially a young kid that never had a chance to grow up," said Chanel's uncle Grover Lenard.

Deputies arrested 22-year-old Juan Garay of Compton. Investigators said Garay appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police said Garay failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for drunken driving and hit and run with further charges pending.

CNS contributed to this report.


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