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Driver Helps Police Track Man in Fatal Hit-and-Run


A motorist who witnessed a fatal hit-and-run accident in Lynwood followed the suspect for 10 miles and tipped off police so they were able to arrest the driver, authorities said Saturday.

Three men died Friday night after being struck by a truck as they tried to change a tire in the center divider of the Long Beach Freeway south of Imperial Highway, said California Highway Patrol officials.

A 21-year-old driver from Los Angeles who saw the accident stopped long enough to drop off his brother and sister to try to help the victims. The driver then followed the suspect to Boyle Heights and relayed license plate information to police, CHP Officer Ernie Garcia said.

"It was extremely valiant and very much appreciated," Garcia said.

Garcia would not disclose the witness's identity and said the man did not wish to be interviewed.

Leopoldo Quezada, 50, of Los Angeles is being held on three counts of vehicular manslaughter as well as felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving charges, Garcia said. Bail was set at $135,000.

The coroner identified the victims as Donald Ray Ferguson, 21, Long Beach; Dionn Neal, 22, of Lynwood, and James Gregory Blanchard, 23, of Los Angeles.

CHP officials said the accident occurred about 9:45 p.m. after the three men pulled their van into the freeway's center divider and got out to change a flat tire. The witness saw a northbound truck swerve, hit the men and keep moving, CHP Officer Donna Urquidi said.

The witness apparently lost sight of the vehicle in the Boyle Heights area but managed to give the Los Angeles Police Department the license plate information. Police officers tracked down Quezada and contacted the CHP, which arrested him.

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