A 22-year-old man was allegedly high on nitrous oxide when he was involved in a chain-reaction crash that killed an 11-year-old girl at a Boyle Heights taco stand last year, prosecutors said Thursday as they announced charges in the case.
Jose Louis Perez was charged with one count each of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of a drug causing injury, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
On Nov. 10, 2017, Perez was behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang that was driving down Whittier Boulevard when he allegedly crashed into a parked car near Marietta Street, causing it to jump the curb, prosecutors said.
The second vehicle careened into a group of people gathered at the taco stand, killing Elektra Yepez and injuring her mother and two aunts, according to the DA’s office.
Perez was allegedly driving under the influence of nitrous oxide – more commonly known as laughing gas – at the time, the release stated. Prosecutors say that led to the fatal crash.
The defendant is due in court Thursday. At the arraignment, prosecutors are expected to recommend Perez’s bail be set at $230,000.
If convicted on the charges, Perez could be sentenced to a maximum of 13 years and eight months.