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Teenagers killed in crash of taxicab in City Terrace

Times Staff Writer

Two teenage girls were killed in a taxicab crash early Tuesday in City Terrace after one of them allegedly attacked the driver of the cab they were riding in with box cutters and he lost control of the vehicle, authorities said.

Relatives and coroner’s officials identified the dead teens as Daisy Orozco, 17, and Alexous Ann Sandoval, 17, both students from Los Angeles.

Police have detained two men in connection with events leading to the fatal crash. Los Angeles Police Capt. Blake Chow said the men, who are in their early 20s, knew the crash victims and are suspected of plotting with them to rob the taxi driver.

Authorities have not released their names.

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The cab driver, who is in his mid-30s, told police that the girls flagged him down about 12:30 a.m. at Wabash Avenue and North Soto Street in Boyle Heights and asked to be taken to the Ramona Gardens public housing complex less than a mile away.

His name has not been released.

As they neared the complex on Lancaster Avenue, the driver said, one of the girls told him to wait for her boyfriend to pay the fare, Chow said.

When a man approached his car holding a handgun, the driver said, he sped away with the girls still inside.

At that point, the driver told police, one of the girls attacked him with a box cutter, stabbing him in the face and neck.

Police would not say which girl was suspected of stabbing the driver.

The driver lost control during the attack and crashed into a concrete barrier, Chow said. Both girls were thrown from the car, but the driver, who was wearing a seat belt, was not, Chow said.

The girls died at the scene.

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After the crash, the driver was seen bloodied and running away, scaling a fence and yelling, “Help me, somebody’s trying to kill me,” according to night-shift workers at Precision Specialty Metals Inc., at 3301 Medford St., who helped the driver inside and let him use a phone to call 911.

Relatives of the dead girls struggled to make sense of the events Tuesday as they stood outside their homes just minutes from the crash scene.

Orozco’s relatives said she left Monday night for a sleepover at Sandoval’s home on nearby Charlotte Street.

They said she did not take anything with her, not even her purse. Andreina Orozco said that when she last talked to her sister at 10 p.m. Monday, the teenager said she planned to return home Tuesday morning.

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Andreina Orozco said she could not understand why her sister would take a cab such a short distance.

She also questioned why her sister hadn’t asked for cab money in advance or called for a ride as she usually did.

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molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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