Driver killed by CHP during illegal street racing probe is identified as Canoga Park man
A driver who was shot and killed by the California Highway Patrol following an illegal car rally has been identified as a Canoga Park man.
Pedro Villanueva, 19, died about 10:30 p.m. Sunday in the 100 block of North Pritchard Street in Fullerton, according to the Orange County coroner’s office.
Authorities said Villanueva’s red Chevy Silverado pickup likely was one of nearly 80 trucks and off-road vehicles participating in the illegal car meeting, also known as a “sideshow,” in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Springs swap meet.
Undercover officers had been monitoring the sideshow and watching drivers show off their skills and perform tricks such as “doughnuts.” The officers were part of a task force investigating illegal street racing and driving events during the long holiday weekend.
Officers arrived to the area and spotted the Chevy hurtling away at speeds reaching 90 mph, according to CHP Lt. Charlie Sampson.
In an unmarked car, undercover officers followed the pickup for five miles until they reached a dead-end street in Fullerton.
The truck turned and tried to drive directly in the path of officers, who then opened fire on the vehicle, according to the Fullerton Police Department.
Villanueva was struck by gunfire and died at the scene. His 18-year-old passenger was struck in the upper torso and taken to an area hospital.
Police said the passenger was expected to survive.
It was not clear whether the driver knew he was being followed by the undercover car, Sampson said.
Friends of Villanueva expressed sadness over his death.
Jasmin Ordonez wrote, “I miss you so much today we were suppose to go to the beach and watch pop fireworks. rip Sinaloa.”
A Facebook profile linked to Villanueva said he attended Chatsworth High School and worked at Villanueva Mexican Grill.
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for Villanueva’s family. A photograph on the page shows Villanueva holding a guitar as he sits on the bed of his pickup.
Times staff writer James Queally contributed to this report.
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