LAPD search for driver who killed 1, injured 9 at Harbor Gateway home

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Police are searching for a driver who they said crashed into a Harbor Gateway prayer meeting, killing one and injuring several others.

Authorities continued their search for a driver who crashed into a Harbor Gateway home where a prayer meeting was being held, killing one and injuring nine Wednesday evening.

Any other evening, there would not have been 11 people gathered in the living room of Lydia Russell's home on Orchard Avenue at 8 p.m.

MORE: 1 killed, 9 hurt when car crashes into Harbor Gateway prayer meeting

But she was a devoted member of the Maria Regina Catholic Church in Gardena and it was her turn to host the Radiant Hearts Prayer Group.

That very evening, an out of control driver crashed a maroon 1999 Buick Regal through her wall, injuring nine and killing one.

The victim who died was identified by her husband as 72-year-old Elsa Debelen.

A photo of 72-year-old Elsa Debelen, provided by her family, who identified her as the victim killed after a car crashed into a Harbor Gateway home on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.


"There was this debris, and I heard a loud explosion," Angie Villanueva, a participant in the prayer meeting told ABC7. "I ducked, thinking it was a bomb or something. So I ducked and I saw so much debris, so much debris and someone afterward was screaming. They were screaming for help."

The Buick had paper plates and witnesses told ABC7 the woman driving ran from the scene, ranting as she fled.

"My sister just died, my sister just died," one witness recounted.

Neighbors said they didn't realize until later that the woman who ran from the scene was the driver of the vehicle.

Authorities described the woman as African American, in her mid-30s to early-40s, with red shoulder-length hair. Police said she was last seen wearing a gold outfit.

The Los Angeles Police Department said a reward of up to $50,000 may be offered for information leading to the driver's arrest and conviction.
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newstraffic fatalitiescar crashcrashlapdsearchwoman killedHarbor GatewayLos Angeles
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