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California

Suspect arrested in hit-and-run crash that killed a father of two on Father’s Day

Maritza Joana Lara
Maritza Joana Lara is suspected of being the driver in a fatal hit-and-run that killed a father of two of Father’s Day.
(Los Angeles Police Department)

The suspect in a Father’s Day hit-and-run car crash that left one dead and four injured in North Hills is in police custody after fleeing the country, police said Sunday.

Los Angeles police said Maritza Joana Lara, 27, fled the country after the fatal crash and was located in Mexico. More details will be provided at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday, authorities said.

Lara is accused of running the red light at Parthenia Street and Haskell Avenue, ramming into the driver’s side of a Nissan Murano driven by 48-year-old Francisco Hernandez Rivas, and then fleeing the scene, authorities said.

Police have released video showing the fatal collision, in which the driver plows into an SUV, lifting the vehicle up and sending it flipping into a parked truck before it slams into a tree and lands on its roof in the front yard of a home in North Hills. The driver of a white Lexus strolls away from the wreckage, walking on a sidewalk past a large white cross in the parking lot of a church and occasionally looking back at the crash site.

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Rivas’ vehicle was launched into the air on impact and flipped upside down. A traffic light was also knocked down in the smoky collision.

Rivas, a father of two, was pronounced dead at the scene, and four passengers in the Lexus were taken to a hospital.

Empty beer cans were found in the vehicle that authorities say Lara was driving. Lara has a prior DUI conviction, police said.


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