Police pursuit crash in Koreatown leaves innocent person dead; human trafficking suspects in custody

Christiane Cordero Image
Saturday, September 4, 2021
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Two human-trafficking suspects were arrested after a police chase ended in a fatal multi-vehicle pileup, the LAPD said.

KOREATOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An innocent person was killed late Thursday night when a police pursuit ended in a multi-vehicle crash in Koreatown, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Shortly before midnight, the LAPD was conducting an undercover human trafficking investigation near Melrose and Western avenues when police saw possible suspects drop off a victim, authorities said. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop when a black Mercedes-Benz sped away, police said.

According to investigators, a chase ensued and lasted for about two minutes before the Mercedes collided with three other vehicles at the intersection of Sixth Street and Wilton Avenue. Two men were in the Mercedes and five innocent people were in the other vehicles, including a white Toyota pickup truck.

One person in the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene and another was hospitalized in unknown condition, the LAPD said. The deceased victim was not immediately identified.

"This could've been anyone. This could've been anyone going home from work, or wherever, or coming home," police Lt. Rex Ingram said in an interview at the crash site. "It could've been police officers sitting at the intersection."

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"Obviously these things are tragic and our hearts go out," the lieutenant said. "It's tragic for the victim of the human trafficking and also for the victim's family, the victim of this traffic collision."

The two human-trafficking suspects sustained minor injuries in the pileup, police said. They were arrested and transported to a hospital for medical treatment.