News Releases

December 27, 2012: Two Charged With Murder in Alleged Street Racing Crash

Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

The drivers of two cars that allegedly were street racing on West Covina streets on Christmas day were charged today with murder in connection with the death of a 90-year-old wheelchair-bound woman who was thrown out of the van in which she was riding when it was hit by one of the vehicles.

Vincent Lopez, 30 (dob 11/24/1982) and Victor Hugo Sanchez, 34 (dob 8/22/1978) each was charged in case No. KA 100488 with one count of murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injury. Bail for each was recommended at $1 million.

Arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow in Department F, Pomona Superior Court. Lopez, the driver of the car that allegedly hit the van, remains hospitalized for injuries received in the crash. Sanchez, driver of the second car, was not hospitalized.

If convicted, each man faces a possible maximum state prison term of life with the possibility of parole.

Authorities said the two men were at a West Covina tavern with friends earlier in the day. They left in two cars to go to a home in the area. Authorities said the cars were seen darting in and out of traffic on Lark Street and exceeding the posted 40-mph limit.

The crash occurred at Lark Street and Merced Avenue when the car driven by Lopez allegedly struck a van driven by Jaime Ochoa, who was injured. Ochoa’s mother, Celia Latorre, who was in the back of the van in a wheelchair, was thrown out and killed. The second car left the scene and Sanchez was not arrested until several hours after the crash.

The case, investigated by West Covina police, was filed by Deputy District Attorney John Monaghan, assistant head of the Pomona branch office. The assigned prosecutor is Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Robles.