Suspected Driver Released After Arrest in Hit-and-Run That Killed Mother of 3 in Silver Lake: LAPD

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A Norwalk man has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after allegedly striking and killing a 57-year-old wife and mother in Silver Lake, police announced Thursday.
Freddy Prieto, 47, is seen in a photo released by Los Angeles Police Department on Jan. 17, 2019.
Freddy Prieto, 47, is seen in a photo released by Los Angeles Police Department on Jan. 17, 2019.
Detectives arrested the suspected driver, Freddy Prieto, one day after Christina Garcia was fatally struck, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Prieto, 47, works as a school janitor, officials said. LAPD officials said three tips from the general public led to Prieto’s capture and arrest. The crash, which was captured on surveillance video, occurred around 6 a.m. Wednesday in the 1800 block of Hyperion Avenue. The victim’s relatives have said Garcia had been on her daily morning walk, something that had been part of her routine for the past 15 years. Video showed a tan sedan spinning out across northbound lanes after losing control along Hyperion. The car struck a parking sign, trash cans and then the victim, who was standing on the sidewalk. She may have stopped at the time to collect recyclables, which she did occasionally to help pay for her daughter’s college tuition, according to family members.
Christina Garcia, 57, is seen in an undated photo provided by her family.
Christina Garcia, 57, is seen in an undated photo provided by her family.
The footage showed the driver exiting the vehicle to inspect the damage. He was then seen getting back into the car and speeding off, leaving the woman to die alone on the sidewalk. “To be honest, I wish he would’ve just stopped,” the victim’s son, Edwin Aleman, told reporters during a news conference Thursday. He said the family was “more angry” about Prieto fleeing the scene after the crash. “(He) just left her there, like she was an item. That’s it,” Aleman said. It was not immediately clear whether the driver even knew someone had been struck by his car, LAPD Detective Campos said. But LAPD Detective Moses Castillo later reiterated that Prieto was aware he had hit other property and had gotten out of the vehicle to inspect the damage. Garcia was later found deceased near a trash can. With the crash occurring sometime around 6:15 a.m. and Garcia not being found until about 7 a.m., Castillo said, there’s chance she might have been able to be saved. “We will never know if she died instantly, or if she was still alive,” Castillo said. LAPD was initially called to the scene by firefighters over concern that Garcia’s body may have been moved because of the way she was positioned amid the debris. Her death was first investigated as suspicious until police realized she had been struck by a car. The loss has been difficult for her close-knit family, which includes a husband and three adult children. “My dad has a heart condition,” Aleman told KTLA the night before, prior to Prieto’s arrest. “We didn’t really want to tell him, especially because they were married for 38 years. They’ve known each other since they were children.” While the entire family is heartbroken, Garcia’s youngest daughter in particular is not doing well, according to a GoFundMe account set up to pay for the woman’s funeral. The two were best friends, according to the page. Before Prieto was taken into custody —after tips led to LAPD tracking him down — Aleman had expressed hope he would turn himself in on his own accord. “I know it’s scary, especially when you hit something or someone, and the first thing you come up with is maybe panic and you just want to flee the scene,” he said. “It’s understandable, but I want him to find it in his heart to hopefully come forward.” Inmate records show that Prieto was released from custody after being held on a $100,000 bail. KTLA’s Tracy Bloom, Marissa Wenzke and Nouran Salahieh contributed to this report.

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