Riverside hit-and-run crash kills teenager; driver arrested

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Saturday, December 10, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

Authorities said a teenage driver was killed after a van blew through a red light and struck her car before fleeing the scene in Riverside on Friday.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Authorities said a teenage driver was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Riverside on Friday, and a suspect has been arrested.

After a more than 10-hour search, Riverside police said Erasto Gomez was taken into custody.

The fatal hit-and-run crash happened at about 5:50 a.m. at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Tyler Street.

A 19-year-old Moreno Valley woman was driving a Nissan Sentra west on Magnolia Avenue when she entered the intersection, according to officials.

Police said a van moved forward during a red light and the Nissan clipped it. The collision forced the Nissan to strike an electrical pole in the center median of Magnolia Avenue, authorities stated.

The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identity was not released pending notification of her family.

Friends and family gathered at the crash sight to mourn the loss of their loved one.

"It's just a cowardly thing to do. I mean, man up to your actions and give this girl justice," said Karina Rivas, the victim's friend. "She's young. She had her whole life ahead of her."

A witness told police the van took off after the collision and drove south on Tyler Street. The witness was able to follow the van and get the license plate before losing sight of the vehicle near Indiana Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard.

"We are very thankful that the witness was not only able to just call anything in to us, (but) to get close enough and to be observant enough to actually get the license plate and call it in quickly to our dispatchers," Railsback said.

Surveillance video captured the deadly crash. In it, you can see Gomez driving the van forward while on a red light and then the victim's vehicle slamming into it.

Investigators were able to locate the suspect vehicle along with the 59-year-old suspect. He was arrested on felony hit-and-run causing serious injury or death and misdemeanor manslaughter.

Officials said it's possible the victim's own driving may have also played a role in her death.

Download the free ABC7 Los Angeles app for breaking news, weather and local stories on-the-go