Two people who were killed when the SUV they were riding in was struck by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s patrol car in Palmdale on Saturday have been identified, authorities said.
The two passengers were identified as Sarah Paynter, 20, of Van Nuys and Robert Delgadillo, 31, of Palmdale, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
The unidentified driver of the SUV sustained minor injuries, while the sheriff’s deputy involved in the crash sustained moderate injuries, authorities said. The deputy, who also has not been identified, was taken to a hospital, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The crash occurred about 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Avenue R and 17th Street. Authorities said the sheriff’s patrol car was traveling eastbound on Avenue R and the victims’ 1994 Ford Explorer was heading northbound on 17th Street.
“For unknown reasons” the SUV entered the intersection “directly in front of” the patrol car, according to a statement from the CHP. The patrol car “broadsided” the SUV, causing it to spin out and eject two passengers into the roadway, the statement said.
The speed of the vehicles was not immediately known. But Lt. Ken Wright of the sheriff’s Palmdale station said that the deputy involved was responding to a call about a fight nearby.
Several media outlets reported that the deputy’s vehicle did not have its lights and sirens on at the time of the crash. Investigators told reporters at the scene that they have conflicting witness statements on how fast the deputy was going and whether the SUV had stopped at a stop sign.
Wright said he was not familiar enough with the investigation to comment about the deputy’s speed or his use of lights and sirens.
The California Highway Patrol is handling the investigation, he said.
[For the record, 3:05 p.m. PST Dec. 18: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled the name of victim Sarah Paynter. Also, the post incorrectly stated that the victims’ 1994 Ford Explorer was traveling eastbound on Avenue R and the sheriff’s patrol car was heading northbound on 17th Street. The patrol car was actually driving on Avenue R; the Explorer was on 17th Street.]