Driver killed by speeding Corvette was a mother of four on her way to work, friend says

A mangled car upside down in the street surrounded by debris, and a Corvette missing its front end in a parking lot behind
A Honda Accord, left, and a Chevrolet Corvette, background, are seen at a strip mall in Lake Balboa after an early Wednesday crash. The Corvette was speeding and is believed to have run a red light, the Los Angeles police said.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A mother of four on her way to work early Wednesday was killed in a Lake Balboa car crash that sent debris flying dozens of feet and left two vehicles mangled at the horrific scene, a friend of the woman confirmed.

Kathy Chavez, 45, was heading to the Castaic post office, where she worked as a clerk, when her car was hit by a driver in a Chevrolet Corvette who police said was speeding and is believed to have run a red light.

Two women smiling
Kathy Chavez, left, and her friend Michelle Matsuo at a pop-up event for local vendors in the San Fernando Valley last year.
(Michelle Matsuo)

The crash happened around 3:46 a.m. at Balboa and Victory boulevards, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Corvette driver, who has not been identified, was brought to the hospital, where they later died. A passenger in the Corvette was also brought to the hospital in critical condition Wednesday. Both had been trapped in the wreckage, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Michelle Matsuo said she met Chavez through church when they were both 15. Chavez grew up in Reseda after her family emigrated from Peru when she was young. Matsuo described Chavez as a single mother who was a go-getter and full of smiles, and who worked tirelessly to provide for her four children.


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“She was just a beautiful, loving and caring mother, friend, daughter,” said Matsuo, who learned about Chavez’s death from family. “She was so hard-working, she was so self-determined.”

Chavez leaves behind four children, ages 11 to 26, and a grandson who turns 2 in April. Chavez picked up her youngest son from school daily, and they would get food before going to the library and the park together, Matsuo said.

A woman on a sled in a track
Kathy Chavez on a sled in Big Bear in 2017.
(Michelle Matsuo)

Chavez lived in Bakersfield and commuted to work, though she sometimes stayed at her mother’s house in Reseda, which is where she was the night before the crash, Matsuo said.

She loved adventures, Matsuo said, adding that “let’s go for it” was Chavez’s answer to almost any question. She went skydiving a few years ago and would take her kids jet skiing.

“She wanted her children to experience what she didn’t have,” Matsuo said.

The LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division is investigating the crash.