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Street racing likely behind fatal South Los Angeles crash

April 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man was struck and killed by a driver in South Los Angeles Sunday. Police say racing may have played a part.

The accident occurred near Compton Avenue and 56th Street around 9 p.m. Family members identified the victim as 57-year-old Francisco "Pancho" Lopez.

According to police, the victim was crossing Compton Avenue when two cars were apparently racing southbound on Compton Avenue.

Surveillance video records the moments after Lopez was hit. The vehicle that struck him crashed into some parked cars. Detectives say the 18-year-old driver confessed and was arrested and booked for vehicular manslaughter.

"He was driving down the street. He admits going over the speed limit at the time and he saw a pedestrian run in front of him. So he took an evasive maneuver, swerved to the right, couldn't avoid the pedestrian and wound up hitting the cars and the pole," said Det. Felix Padilla with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Skid marks were evident on the ground near the scene, indicating the driver attempted to hit the brakes.

Investigators believe the driver might have been street racing with another vehicle at the time of the accident. The scene of the crime on Compton Avenue is infamous for street racing.

Lopez lived alone about a block away from where he was hit. The victim's nephew, Angel Lopez, says even though he's grieving , the sound of his uncle's name brings a smile to his face.

"He always had stuff for the kids and us. Every time we would go he would have ice cream waiting for us, because he knew we were coming. He was just loving, he loved us all," said Angel Lopez.

Police do not have a description of the second car the suspect was racing. Authorities were urging anyone who may have saw the second vehicle involved in the street race to come forward and contact authorities.

Anyone with information regarding the crash was urged to the LAPD Central Traffic Division at (213) 972-2445.


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