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Woman killed by suspected street racer in West Hills has been identified

Two smashed cars are shown surrounded by debris at a crash scene.
A woman driving a Prius was killed Friday afternoon when a motorist suspected of street racing lost control and crashed into her car in West Hills, police said.
(KTLA)

A woman killed last week when a motorist suspected of street racing lost control of his car and crashed in West Hills has been identified.

Colleen Wong, 57, of West Hills, was killed in Friday’s crash, the Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed.

About 4 p.m., two or three cars were racing north on Valley Circle Boulevard when one of the drivers lost control and plowed into a Toyota Prius driving west on Vanowen Street, said Officer Mike Lopez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Wong was the driver of the Prius.

“She was always the most energetic and most outgoing person in the room,” her son Tim Wong told KTLA-TV Channel 5.

The man who drove the car that struck her was treated for injuries at a hospital and was in custody, Lopez said. Investigators believed he was driving under the influence, police said.

The Los Angeles Police Department said it was stepping up DUI enforcement in the wake of the crash, as well as two others that injured a total of six people Friday.

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In the first, a person suspected of driving under the influence was arrested after striking five pedestrians on the sidewalk at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and then crashing into a storefront shortly after 3 p.m., police said. All five were hospitalized, some with severe injuries, according to investigators.

About two hours later, a person suspected of driving under the influence was arrested after hitting a woman walking in the crosswalk at 6th Street and Highland Avenue, leaving her with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Overall, fatal crashes are up 35% so far this year in the LAPD’s service area, with 62 reported through Thursday compared with 46 during the same period in 2020, the Police Department said in a news release. Eighteen people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after they were involved in crashes in the one-week period ending Friday, police said.

Last week, the California Highway Patrol arrested 11 people and impounded 25 cars in a crackdown on a so-called takeover by street racers in Granada Hills. Dozens gathered Saturday evening at San Fernando Mission and Balboa boulevards to watch drivers perform doughnuts in the intersection.

CHP officers arrived to break up the illegal gathering, and scuffles erupted. Two officers and a suspect were injured.

Law enforcement officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened street racers, who have turned lightly traveled streets into speedways and intersections into playgrounds to perform doughnuts, burnouts and other dangerous stunts.

In October, a pickup flipped at a takeover in Costa Mesa, killing one of its passengers.

Times staff writer Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.


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