91-year-old woman fatally struck by hit-and-run driver in University Park: LAPD

Local news

A woman described as being about 91 years old died after a hit-and-run driver backed into her in the University Park neighborhood of South L.A., Los Angeles Police Department officials said Tuesday.

The crash occurred about 7 a.m. Monday when the unidentified victim was walking across an alley using a walker to support herself on Ellendale Place just south of Adams Boulevard. The vehicle was heading west in the alley, “backing unsafely” when it crashed into the pedestrian, police said.

Video released by LAPD Tuesday shows the driver getting out of the vehicle, a pickup truck carrying a load, after the crash. Police say the driver, apparently a woman, saw the victim on the ground. She then moved the vehicle out of the roadway and “stood around” for about three minutes before getting back into the truck and driving off.

The victim was left on the roadway before being taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

The street where the hit-and-run took place is several blocks away from the University of Southern California campus, and Ellendale Place is a popular off-campus housing location for students.

The victim’s family has identified her to KTLA as 91-year-old Soon Kim, a beloved mother and grandmother who immigrated to the U.S. from Korea three decades ago.

Kim’s grandson, Hyun Cho, says his grandmother’s greatest love was her family and she worked very hard to make sure they were well cared for. She thoroughly enjoyed cooking for them, Cho added.

“She was very fiercely independent,” Susan Cho, Hyun’s wife, said. “She lived by herself with no complaint. She enjoyed her independence.”

A reward of up to $50,000 is available to residents who provide information leading to the offender’s identification, arrest and conviction.

“We understand that the woman that struck her is someone known in the neighborhood,” Susan Cho said. People recognized the car and that she had sort of a regular routine of putting up mattresses and other things in the area … It gives us some hope that she may be found.”

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

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