Police ID woman suspected in fatal hit-and-run of 91-year-old grandmother in University Park

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Maria Isabel Palma, whom police believe was the driver in a fatal hit-and-run, is seen in a photo released by LAPD on Oct. 22, 2021.

Maria Isabel Palma, whom police believe was the driver in a fatal hit-and-run, is seen in a photo released by LAPD on Oct. 22, 2021.

Los Angeles police are asking for the public’s help to locate a woman suspected in the fatal hit-and-run of a 91-year-old grandmother that happened in August in the University Park area of South L.A.

The fatal crash happened at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2, on Ellendale Place, just south of Adams Boulevard. That morning 91-year-old Soon Kim, a beloved mother and grandmother, was walking across an alley with the use of her walker when she was hit by a truck.

“The 1995 Toyota truck driven by Maria Isabel Palma (DOB 11/17/1958), was backing westbound in the alley when it ran over Kim causing severe head trauma. Palma exited her vehicle and observed Kim laying in the roadway,” LAPD said Friday in a community alert. “Palma briefly stood around her truck and reentered her vehicle leaving the location failing to render aid.”

Kim was taken to California Hospital, where she later died.

Two days after the crash, LAPD detectives found Palma’s truck, which was registered to her estranged husband.

Police said Palma was later identified by her husband as the driver seen in the surveillance video released by LAPD that shows the the deadly crash.

Palma is known to frequent the Compton Boulevard area and collects used mattresses for resale, but police said she may have fled to her family in El Salvador or Mexico.

A warrant has been issued for Palma’s arrest and a reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to her conviction.

Kim’s family told KTLA she was a “fiercely independent” woman who lived alone.

She immigrated to the U.S. from Korea three decades ago.

Anyone with additional information about the crash can call Officer Lopez Del Haro or Officer Pollard at 323-421-2500.

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