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Suspected Street Racer Kills Elderly Woman In West Covina Crash

WEST COVINA ( –Two men suspected of street racing are accused of killing an elderly woman and seriously injuring her son when one of their cars broadsided the victims' minivan on Christmas in West Covina.

Vincent Lopez, 30, and Victor Hugo Sanchez, 34, were arrested and booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving in connection with the crash that happened about 9 p.m. Dec. 25 at Lark Ellen and Merced avenues, West Covina police Lt. David Lee said.

Celia La Torre, 90, of West Covina, had just been released from Queen of the Valley Hospital. She was seated in a wheelchair secured in a van driven by her son, 72-year-old Jaime Ochoa, when the vehicle was struck by a Mitsubishi Eclipse allegedly driven by Lopez.

La Torre was ejected from the van and pronounced dead at the scene.

Celia La Torre
(credit: CA DMV)

Ochoa was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was treated for head trauma.

Lopez was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital for leg injuries.

Police said Lopez and Sanchez were seen racing on Lark Ellen Avenue moments before the crash.

"At the time of the accident, the two were still racing. Only one of the vehicles collided into the van. The other one (Sanchez) actually took off and went eastbound on Merced and left the scene," said West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez.

The suspects had also been drinking in a bar in the 200 block of South Glendora Avenue within an hour before the accident, according to detectives.

Both men are scheduled to appear in West Covina Superior Court on Dec. 28.

Anyone with information about the crash can call the West Covina Police Department at (626) 939-8500.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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