Woman Arrested as Suspected Tesla Driver Who Killed Father of 4 in Pico-Union Hit-and-Run

A 35-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with a Pico-Union hit-and-run crash that killed a father of four, Los Angeles Police Department officials said Wednesday.

Vanessa Gutierrez is shown in a photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 4, 2019.

Vanessa Gutierrez is shown in a photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 4, 2019.

Vanessa Gutierrez surrendered to police about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and was booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

She was previously identified as a person of interest in the Nov. 21 incident that left the victim, Emilio Perez, 34, brain-dead.

Perez died from his injuries a week later on Thanksgiving, according to LAPD.

The victim was walking in the area of Olympic Boulevard and Lake Street at 10:45 p.m. when he was stuck by a white Tesla and thrown about 50 feet.

The driver left the scene and did not stop to help, police said.

The damaged vehicle was found covered up in the 1800 block of South Saint Andrews Place after authorities received a tip. Surveillance video showed a woman covering the Tesla before being picked up by a person in a black car.

Emilio Perez, 34, is seen at the hospital after a Nov. 21, 2019, hit-and-run collision in Pico-Union. (Credit: Los Angeles Police Department)

Emilio Perez, 34, is seen at the hospital after a Nov. 21, 2019, hit-and-run collision in Pico-Union. (Credit: Los Angeles Police Department)

Investigators determined that the vehicle was a rental and were able to track it to a business, which helped them identify Gutierrez as a person of interest.

“If she had remained at the scene, this would have been investigated as a traffic collision,” Detective Moses Castillo said in a tweet showing a photo of Perez.

In another tweet, Castillo said police hope to identify and find the driver of the black vehicle that was seen picking Gutierrez up after the suspect abandoned the damaged Tesla.

Destini Williams, who is in her 30s, was also identified as a person of interest. Police did not elaborate on Williams’ role, or whether she is in custody.

Perez was described by police as being homeless, and investigators said his family didn’t find out about the crash until days later. They searched for the victim at local hospitals for days before finding him.

Many of Perez’s organs were harvested to be donated, Castillo told KTLA after the victim died.

A Tesla believed to be linked to a hit-and-run was recovered in Harvard Heights on Nov. 22, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

A Tesla believed to be linked to a hit-and-run was recovered in Harvard Heights on Nov. 22, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

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