Authorities were searching for a hit-and-run driver who fled after crashing his pickup truck into a group of pedestrians at a busy Koreatown intersection Monday morning, leaving one person dead and two others critically injured, according to LAPD.
A preliminary investigation found that the white pickup truck was heading eastbound on Beverly Boulevard when it collided with a gray sedan that was traveling northbound on Normandie Avenue at about 6:45 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
The truck may have run a red light and then hit the sedan, LAPD Sgt. Gregory Hoyte said. The truck then plowed into the sidewalk in front of a taco stand (map).
One man, declared dead on scene, was pulled from under the truck. Another man and a woman were hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.
The man killed, who was waiting for a bus, was identified as Javier Hernandez, 45, by family members who came to the scene.
“It’s a surprise for us because we don’t expect these things to happen,” said Estela Martinez, the victim’s niece.
She added that Hernandez’s wife was grieving for her husband.
“The wife, she’s just destroyed. There’s no words to describe how painful this is,” Martinez said.
The hit-and-run driver was described as a Hispanic man between 35 and 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and wearing a red shirt and black pants.
“What we had here was a traffic collision,” said Sgt. Barry Montgomery. “The failure of the driver of that white pickup — his failure to stop and render aid had turned this into a crime scene.”
The drivers of the other vehicles were not injured and were cooperating with authorities.
The intersection was shut down and traffic was diverted onto eastbound Beverly Boulevard as of 8:30 a.m.
Hoyte originally said the hospitalized female was the driver of the sedan, but another officer later said both hospitalized victims were pedestrians.
Throughout the day, Hernandez’s family gathered at the corner where he was killed, as donations trickled into a makeshift memorial. The hope was to send his remains to his hometown in Mexico for his funeral, relatives said.
“He was the one who was sending money for them, for the kids,” Martinez said. “Now, who’s gonna be there for them. Who’s gonna be there for the wife, the kids. Who’s gonna support them?”
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the incorrect location for the crash. The story has been updated.