Family mourns loss of mother killed in Encino hit-and-run

ENCINO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A mother of two was run down in an Encino crosswalk over the weekend, and her loved ones are asking the public for help to catch her killer.

Yana Lavrentev was out with her friends and husband right before she died. Her husband Evgeny Lavrentev said she was hit in Encino on Ventura Boulevard, near Louise Avenue in a marked crosswalk on Saturday.

"She was my family, center of our universe," Evgeny said as he held back tears. "She was kind (to) everybody."

Investigators say the group of friends had the right of way, but when Yana stepped into the street, a car smashed into her.

"It happened super fast. We could not help it, we could not stop it. We could not even react. It was too fast," said witness Yaroslava Markova.

Witnesses said the driver blew through a red light, not braking before or after the collision. Yana spent two days at the hospital but died from her injuries Monday night.

Yana was just 30 years old, a mother of two and a master's degree candidate. Her husband said she taught speech therapy to kids with autism and was very involved in the Russian-American community.

He said it's not just a loss for just his family, but their entire community.

"It was so sudden for everybody," Evgeny said. "It's like something, somebody came from nowhere and disappeared."

The hit-and-run vehicle was described by witnesses as a possible silver 1996 to early 2000 Toyota 4-Runner.

Anyone with information about the crash or the suspect is asked to contact Valley Traffic Detective Lisset Fuentes at (818) 644-8021 or Detective Dan Menesez at (818) 644-8028.
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