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D.A. Won’t Charge Mother in Accident

A North Hollywood woman who left her child unattended in a car, which led to a freak accident that injured five children, will not be charged with felony child endangerment, officials said Friday.

“We determined it would be inappropriate to file felony charges because she left the child in the car for only a few brief moments,” Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. David Mintz said. “Tragically, that is all it took for the child to put the car in gear.”

Last week, Estela Lopez, 33, left her car running as she returned to her apartment to retrieve her purse when her youngest child climbed into her 1984 Ford Thunderbird and shifted it into gear. The car slammed into five children, all under the age of 10, seriously injuring four of them, police said.

The four children received no permanent injuries and have all been released from local hospitals.

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Mintz said Lopez was extremely remorseful and had no prior criminal history.

The case, as a matter of procedure, was referred to the city attorney’s office Friday, where misdemeanor child endangerment charges will be considered, Mintz said. If convicted of misdemeanor charges, Lopez faces a year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine.

“She didn’t intend for anyone to be injured,” Mintz said. “Some of the victims were relatives of hers.”


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