Two charged in crash that killed 90-year-old woman in wheelchair


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Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged two men with murder after a car slammed into a van while street racing in West Covina on Christmas, killing a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair and injuring her son.

Vincent Lopez, 30, and Victor Hugo Sanchez, 34, were also charged with one count of driving under the influence causing injury, the district attorney’s office said in a statement. They are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Pomona. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Prosecutors said Lopez and Sanchez had spent part of Christmas with friends at a West Covina tavern. When they left, Lopez was driving a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse and Sanchez a red Ford Escort. The cars were seen speeding and weaving through traffic, authorities said.

Just before 9 p.m., Lopez ran a stop sign and collided with a van near Lark Ellen and Merced avenues, police said. Celia La Torre was thrown out of the van and pronounced dead at the scene. Her son, Jaime Ochoa, 72, and the van’s driver, suffered head trauma and had to be extracted from the vehicle, police said.

Lopez was injured and remains in the hospital. Sanchez, prosecutors said, fled the scene and was not arrested until several hours after the crash.

Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $1 million.


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Map: Approximate location of incident shown in black. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.