Woman Arrested in Mexico 2 Months After Hit-and-Run Crash That Killed North Hills Father

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Officials have taken a woman into custody after she allegedly walked away from the scene of a deadly Father’s Day crash in North Hills and proceeded to flee to Mexico, Los Angeles police said Sunday.

LAPD planned to discuss the arrest of Maritza Joana Lara, 27, of Van Nuys, at a Tuesday morning news conference, where a victim’s family member was set to speak.

Maritza Joana Lara is seen in an undated driver's license photo released June 18, 2019, by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Maritza Joana Lara is seen in an undated driver’s license photo released June 18, 2019, by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lara was apprehended in Mexico before the U.S. Marshals arrested her at the Los Angeles International Airport, LAPD said. L.A. County inmate records indicate Lara was booked on Aug. 17, and that she’s being held on $2,230,000 bail.

The June 16 crash killed Francisco Hernandez Rivas, a 48-year-old father of two teens, and critically injured Lara’s four passengers, according to the Police Department.

LAPD last reported the surviving victims to be in stable condition. Authorities have not disclosed the relationship between Lara and her passengers.

The agency previously released surveillance footage that captured the Lexus sedan Lara was believed to be driving  plowing into Rivas’ Nissan SUV.

Lara allegedly exited the Lexus and opened one of the back passenger doors before walking away.

Video from the site of the collision, which happened at around 5:35 a.m. on Haskell Avenue and Parthenia Street, shows multiple empty beer cans inside the Lexus.

Authorities believe she sped through a red light while driving under the influence. Lara has a prior DUI conviction, Detective Lisette Fuentes previously said.





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