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East LA bus stop crash: Driver identified

The driver who fled after plowing into a bus stop in East L.A. has been identified.
November 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The driver who fled after plowing into a bus stop in East Los Angeles has been identified as Pedro Velasquez of Cudahy. Police are seeking the public's help finding him.

Juan Rodriguez, the boyfriend of one of the injured, made an emotional plea for the suspect to surrender.

"I just want you to turn yourself in because she doesn't look so good. I love her a lot," Rodriguez said, as he buried his face in his hands, crying.

Authorities say Velasquez was behind the wheel of a white GMC Yukon when he lost control of the SUV near Atlantic and Whittier boulevards at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle slammed into a 31-year-old Sara Lopez as she and Rodriguez were walking on the sidewalk.

"We were walking, and I just felt my hand go up in the air, and I just see my girlfriend fly in the air, and the car just kept on going. I thought he was going to get out and help us," Rodriguez said.

After hitting Lopez, he ran into a Metro bus stop, where 56-year-old Santiago Perez was sitting. Perez was pulled out from under the SUV and rushed to the hospital.

Officers say Velasquez, who is in his mid-40s, fled the scene on foot. Investigators went to Velasquez's home Wednesday night to talk to his wife.

"At that particular time, Mr. Velasquez did make a phone call, unknowing that we were at the residence. One of our investigators was able to speak with him and get some sort of statement where he implicated himself, and he has yet to turn himself in," said CHP Sgt. Bill Preciado.

Velasquez is unlicensed and considered a flight risk. The CHP says there's a possibility he may have fled to Mexico.

"Coworkers, friends, anybody who may be assisting Mr. Pedro Velasquez in any way, shape or form, will also be prosecuted if we determine that you were complicit in assisting Mr. Pedro Velasquez in coming forward to the California Highway Patrol," Preciado said.

Lopez remains hospitalized with serious head injuries, and Perez also remains hospitalized with multiple injuries, including broken legs.

Police say Velasquez's wife has been cooperating. Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP East L.A. Office at (323) 980-4600.


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