An 18-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of being the driver in a hit-and-run crash that left two people dead in Palmdale earlier this month, officials said.
Jamaal Tyree Madden was allegedly speeding in excess of 100 mph before the fiery collision around 12:30 a.m. on June 9, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Madden is suspected of being behind the wheel of a Dodge Challenger that struck the rear of a Toyota Corolla on Rancho Vista Boulevard near 11th Street West, next to the Antelope Valley Mall.
Investigators believe the Dodge was involved in some type of street race before the crash.
The Toyota, which was not suspected of racing, spun out as a result of the impact and smashed into a light pole. Video from the scene showed the vehicle fully engulfed in flames.
The man behind the wheel of the Corolla, 37-year-old Lesther DeLeon was ejected. He and a female passenger, 28-year-old Spechelle Pope, both died at the scene, officials said.
Loved ones who gathered at a makeshift memorial at the scene identified the deceased as a young mother of five and as a Lyft driver who was giving her a ride home from the store.
“This is very, very devastating to our family. Very devastating,” said Yolanda Pope-Walker, Spechelle Pope’s aunt.
Witnesses said Madden was picked up by another driver and fled the scene.
“It hurts even more that he ran like he did, but I can’t change anything,” the victim’s brother, Justuss Pope, said the day of the crash. “I just hope he gets caught.”
Earlier Tuesday, investigators had released a photo of Madden, asking the public’s help in tracking him down. Within hours, they said he’d been arrested and thanked the public for their tips.
No further details were provided on the circumstances of Madden’s arrest, and the crash remains under investigation.