Arrest is made in fatal Pasadena crash that had jogger’s husband searching for answers

A couple poses in a nighttime scene illuminated by lanterns
Yang Yang Liu, right, was killed when a car struck her during a morning jog the day after Thanksgiving in her Pasadena neighborhood. Her husband, Joseph Wirija, expressed frustration about the investigation.
(Joseph Wirija)

A Pasadena man was arrested early Friday and is facing criminal charges in connection with a crash that left a jogger dead late last month.

Austin Wong, 20, was taken into custody at his home without incident and booked into the Pasadena jail on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter, according to the Pasadena Police Department. The case will be presented to the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

A stop sign at a four-way intersection in a residential neighborhood
The intersection of Allen Avenue and San Pasqual Street in Pasadena, where Yang Yang Liu was fatally struck by a motorist.
(Ansheng Liu)

The investigation began when officers and firefighters were called at 11:19 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to the intersection of Allen Avenue and San Pasqual Street, police said.

They found a woman, later identified as 33-year-old Yang Yang Liu, who’d been hit by the driver of a 2007 BMW, police said. Authorities did not identify Wong as the driver until Friday.

An ambulance was called, but Liu suffered significant head trauma and was declared dead at the scene, authorities said.


Pasadena resident Yang Yang Liu, 33, was struck and killed the day after Thanksgiving by a driver who blew through a stop sign.

Nov. 30, 2021

Investigators learned she had set off at 11 a.m. for a jog on a route she’d taken many times before. It usually took about 30 minutes to complete, so when she hadn’t returned home after an hour, her husband, 35-year-old Joseph Wirija, tried texting her.

Hours passed. He tried calling Liu several times with no answer until eventually a police officer picked up her phone.

They delivered the news to him that evening.

The investigation revealed that Liu was jogging east on the southern sidewalk of San Pasqual Street approaching Allen Avenue, police said. She was hit by Wong’s BMW as she crossed the intersection in the southern crosswalk.

Crash investigators determined Wong ran a stop sign and was driving faster than the 30-mph limit at a speed that was “grossly negligent” for road conditions, police said.