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Ghost Tire Memorial to honor 3 women killed in high-speed Westmont crash

Three women who were riding in an Uber vehicle when they were struck by another driver will be remembered with a Ghost Tire Memorial at the site of the high-speed crash in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.

Streets Are For Everyone, a nonprofit traffic-safety advocacy group which seeks to end traffic-caused fatalities, and
Faith for SAFE Streets, a faith-based coalition, will present the memorial at at Vermont Avenue and Century Boulevard, west of the 110 Freeway, in Westmont.

The victims killed in the crash early Saturday were identifed as 23-year-old Juvelyn Arroyo, of San Juan Capistrano; 23-year-old Veronica Amezola, of Santa Ana; and 27-year-old Kimberly Izquierdo, also of Santa Ana. Izquierdo and Amezola are sisters who were friends with Arroyo since childhood, family members said on GoFundMe pages.

They were passengers in an Uber vehicle at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday when it was struck by a 31-year-old driver who ran a red light at high speed, police said.

“These families are suffering right now,” said Los Angeles Police Department Detective Ryan Moreno. “One of the families, they’re preparing for two funerals, you know, both of their daughters.

Family members said on the GoFundMe page that the group attended a concert in South Los Angeles. They were on their way home when they were struck at the intersection.

“Kimberly (Izquierdo) and Vero (Amezola) were both bright and full of life, with so much more life to live and gave so much love through their kindness, intelligence, compassion, and joy,” the family said. “Kimberly had just graduated from nursing school and was achieving her goals of moving up in the medical field. She is an intelligent and dedicated student and was also involved in her dance team during her time at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“Veronica was a bright student who graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt. She spent her time doing field research amongst the Redwoods and was interested in environmental science. She recently got a job with the County of Orange working with animals and was looking forward to the start of a bright future.”

Authorities said the driver of a Mercedes Benz was traveling at about 90 mph when he ran the red light and broadsided the Uber vehicle, a Honda that was westbound on Century Boulevard. The posted speed limit in the area in 35 mph.

“To just walk around and see that many casualties, it looked like a bomb went off,” Moreno said of the crash scene.

The Mercedes Benz driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was later arrested.

The suspect is a known gang member with 11 prior arrests and three convictions, police said Wednesday. He was serving five years probation at the time of the crash, stemming from a 2020 murder case in which he was involved.

The Ghost Tire Memorials feature tires painted white.

Memorial organizers are working to promote safer speeds on streets and have called on the Legislature to pass Assembly Bill 645. The bill would create a pilot program in six California cities to install speed cameras with a priority around schools, high-injury networks and known street racing corridors.

There have been 70 traffic-related fatalities within the LAPD’s South Traffic Division this year, Moreno said.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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