A young man and woman died when a driver slammed into their car as they were leaving a drive-thru in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park neighborhood early Sunday morning.
The alleged driver, who ran from the scene but was arrested a short time later, will face murder charges, police said.
The collision happened around 12:30 a.m. at 3998 S. Normandie Ave. near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and a half-mile from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
The victims had just picked up food from the drive-thru of a Burger Factory when the driver of a white Jeep traveling between 80 or 90 mph hit their white BMW, according to Los Angeles Police.
First responders had to use extraction tools to get them free, but by then it was already too late. Authorities say the man and woman died on impact.
The male suspect, later identified by police as 31-year-old Elmer Santos of Los Angeles, tried to run away from the crash scene, but witnesses helped ensure he didn’t escape.
“There were witnesses that gave chase, followed him, and tried to stay within eyesight of the suspect. Ultimately, this led to him being taken into custody,” said LAPD Det. Ryan Moreno.
Family members of the female victim identified her as Maria Belen Polanco, a 20-year-old student at USC.
“For all that to be taken away within an instant, I don’t know. It just makes me angry,” Polanco’s stepbrother, David Chame, told KTLA.
The other victim was identified as Kevin Castillo, a 20-year-old from Pomona, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.
Neighbors told KTLA that speeding is a constant problem in the area.
“People are driving too fast on these streets. They’re not paying attention,” said Carla Lee. “It’s really bad. They changed the whole intersection … and we still have accidents on this street.”
Police told KTLA they found alcohol in the Jeep, and though Santos was initially expected to face manslaughter charges, police said later that he would be charged with murder.