Street racing may have caused fatal crash in West Covina


The accident happened around 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lark Ellen and Merced avenues. Police said it appeared a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse had collided with a white Dodge Caravan with two people inside.

The impact caused a 90-year-old female passenger to be ejected from the van. Celia La Torre was declared dead at the scene. Her son, who was driving the van, was hospitalized with head injuries. Police say they were returning home from Queen of the Valley Hospital, where La Torre had just been released.

According to witnesses, the driver of the Eclipse, identified as 30-year-old Vincent Lopez of Rialto, had been racing with a red Ford Escort on Lark Ellen Avenue. Prior to the violent crash, both vehicles failed to stop at a stop sign at Vine Avenue, witnesses said.

Police arrested both Lopez and the driver of the Escort, identified as 34-year-old Victor Hugo Sanchez of Rialto, and booked them for murder. Lopez was also booked for felony DUI. They are being held on $1 million each.

The men are scheduled to appear in West Covina Superior Court on Friday.

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