Car on Way to Drag Race Rams Vehicle; Mother Dies, 2 Injured

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A woman was killed and her two children seriously injured Sunday morning when their Ford Bronco was rear-ended by a car that was speeding to a popular illegal street race in Sylmar, the California Highway Patrol said.

Mark Botta, 18, of Cerritos, the driver of the second car, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence after the 12:35 a.m. crash on the Golden State Freeway, Sgt. Ben Ruth said.

Authorities said Botta was racing three other cars, all headed to a stretch of San Fernando Road that for years has been a popular site for dragsters. The races have been the scene of two fatal gang-related shootings in the last year.

According to the CHP, Botto said he lost control of his car when it struck a bump in the road and struck the Bronco. Four members of a Cuyama family were thrown from the vehicle, including Concepcion Rodriguez, 29, who was killed.

Her husband, Jose, 30, was taken to Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where he was treated for minor injuries and released. Her two children--a 5-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son-- suffered serious injuries.

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