LOS ANGELES — On Sunday evening, Genevieve Salazar was wrapping up one of her monthly community pop-up events that she hosts for small businesses at Foxy’s Sports Bar in Van Nuys, when an SUV slammed through the front of the venue.
Many vendors and children barely escaped the path of the out-of-control vehicle.
What You Need To Know
- In 2021, reports of illegal street racing and sideshow events have jumped 27%
- A report from California Highway Patrol and AAA, South Los Angeles and Van Nuys are both hot spots for illegal street racing activities
- On Sunday, a Van Nuys woman was killed after a man fled a street takeover and crashed into a building
- Two LA City Council members are drafting legislation to criminalize online planning of street racing events and takeovers
"It happened so quick that none of us could warn each other," said Salazar. "It happened in the blink of an eye."
Sadly, a nail tech who was one Salazar's regular vendors wasn’t able to get out of the way in time. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that a woman in her 40s was killed after being hit by the car.
“It could’ve been my life, it could've been my son’s, it could’ve been my mother’s,” Salazar said.
According to the LAPD, the driver was 18-year-old Luis Carrillo-Castaneda, a resident of LA. Officers say he fled the scene of a street takeover just blocks away from where he crashed at the corner of Woodley Ave. and Saticoy St.
Carrillo-Castaneda was arrested for murder.
In 2021, reports of dangerous and illegal street racing and sideshow events have jumped 27%, and according to a report from California Highway Patrol and AAA, South LA and Van Nuys are both hot spots for illegal street racing activities.
In May 2019, Lori Argumedo’s niece Bethany was killed by a street racer in Willowbrook. Bethany was a 23-year-old mother. At the time, she was driving with her younger brother to pick up her 6-year-old daughter when she collided with a car that was racing 82 miles per hour on a residential street.
"Bethany was hit so hard that her seat was on top of her little brother’s seat," said Argumedo. "The whole driver’s side was on top of the passengers side."
The driver was 20 years old and convicted of felony hit and run, serving seven years in prison.
"I don’t think that young man woke up that morning to kill Bethany, but his actions are something we’ll have to live with for the rest of our lives," Argumedo said.
On Monday, as Salazar mustered up the strength to help vendors recover what was left of their belongings after the crash, she was traumatized from witnessing an innocent life taken by a reckless driver.
“That's an image I can't get out of my head,” she said.
Two LA City Council members are drafting legislation to criminalize online planning of street racing events and takeovers. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to suspend licenses of people convicted of street racing on a highway. That law goes into effect in 2025.