W. Covina woman, 90, killed on Christmas in racing accident


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A 90-year-old West Covina woman was killed when a car suspected of racing ran a stop sign and slammed into a van that was taking her home from the hospital Christmas night, police said.

Celia La Torre was thrown from her wheelchair and the vehicle, and was found on the sidewalk near Lark Ellen and Merced avenues, West Covina Police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


Officers arrived just after 9 p.m. and found that a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse had collided with the van.

The van’s driver, La Torre’s 72-year-old son, Jaime Ochoa, suffered head trauma and had to be extracted from the vehicle, Lopez said.

Ochoa and the Eclipse’s driver, Vincent Lopez, 30, of Rialto were transported to Los Angeles County - USC Medical Center.

Witnesses reported seeing Vincent Lopez racing with a red Ford Escort southbound on Lark Ellen, Police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.

The Escort’s driver, Victor Hugo Sanchez, fled and was arrested Wednesday morning in Pomona.

Vincent Lopez and Sanchez were booked on suspicion of murder and each ordered held $1-million bail.

West Covina police are looking for witnesses that may have seen the two vehicles speeding between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Witnesses are asked to contact the West Covina Police Department at (626) 939-8500.


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