USC student struck and killed by driver suspected of street racing in South L.A.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder following a traffic collision in South Los Angeles that left a USC student dead — and that investigators believe was triggered by street racing, police said Sunday.
Arian Rahbar, 21, was struck and killed about 3 p.m. Saturday while walking across Jefferson Boulevard.
He was in a marked crosswalk when he was hit by a Dodge Challenger Hellcat, whose driver had been racing a driver in an Infiniti G37, said Det. Ryan Moreno of the LAPD’s South Traffic Division.
Moreno said witnesses heard two cars revving their engines at a traffic light at Jefferson and Western Avenue, then saw them head east on Jefferson toward Harvard Boulevard, where Rahbar had just picked up food and entered a crosswalk.
A driver in an SUV had stopped so the student could cross, Moreno said.
The driver of the Dodge continued east in the second lane, hitting Rahbar and sending him airborne, the detective said.
Rahbar was a junior at USC who majored in computer science and had recently accepted a summer internship at Facebook. From Dunlap, Ill., he was a straight-A student who “never did anything bad to anybody,” said his father, Sam Rahbar.
“Racing on the street — they killed innocent people,” the father added. “An innocent kid.”
Moreno identified Ricardo Aguilar, 24, of Los Angeles as the driver of the car that struck Rahbar and Carlos Valdez Moscoso, 21, as the other driver. The two were booked on murder charges and are set to be arraigned on Tuesday, he said.
Investigators have not determined how fast the two cars were going, Moreno said, but have concluded that it was “definitely above the speed limit.”
The number of deaths caused by car crashes is rising in L.A.
This year, the city recorded 257 traffic-related fatalities as of Nov. 20 — 22% more than the same time frame in 2020.
Moreno said Rahbar was the 101st traffic-related fatality within the department’s South Bureau, an increase of nearly 25% over the previous year.
“We haven’t had numbers like that, ever,” Moreno said. “It’s just so out of control right now.”
Less than 12 hours after Rahbar was killed, two more pedestrians — both women, both homeless — were struck by a Toyota Tacoma pickup on Quay Avenue in Wilmington, authorities said.
One woman died from her injuries, making her the South Bureau’s 102nd traffic-related fatality, Moreno said.
The other pedestrian, he added, is fighting for her life.
The driver in that crash, 24-year-old Alvaro Batres-Garcia of Wilmington, was arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, Moreno said. He was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time, Moreno said.
The carnage has not been limited to South Los Angeles. On Friday, the LAPD responded to a pedestrian fatality in the San Fernando Valley.
In that crash, the driver of a white four-door Hyundai Accent struck an 85-year-old man who had been crossing Saticoy Street mid-block, police said.
The driver of that vehicle sped off, and investigators are seeking the public’s help in solving the crime.
Detectives said that anyone with information about the Saticoy collision should call (818) 644-8035 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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