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Driver Arrested After Passenger Dies in Crash

Crime: Police say the motorist may have been racing. He and two others allegedly fled, leaving friend trapped in the wreckage.

August 20, 2000|GREG RISLING | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A 20-year-old man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after he and two of his passengers allegedly left a gravely injured friend trapped in their crashed vehicle, police said.

Eric Diaz of Sun Valley is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Police believe Diaz may have been racing another car when he lost control of his 1992 Acura Integra and it slammed into a traffic signal, said Los Angeles Police Officer Anthony Hotchkiss of the Valley Traffic Division.

The accident happened about 2:40 a.m. at Glenoaks Boulevard and Sheldon Street. Police said the car may have been traveling at a high rate of speed when Diaz attempted to turn from northbound Glenoaks to westbound Sheldon and hit the pole.

Slightly dazed, Diaz and two passengers got out of the vehicle, while a 19-year-old Sun Valley man was trapped in the front passenger seat, police said.

Police said they don't know if the men tried to help their injured friend before they fled.

"They may have been transported from the area by someone," Hotchkiss said.

Firefighters extricated the man from the damaged car and rushed him to Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, where he was pronounced dead.

After checking vehicle records, police said they went to Diaz's house in Sun Valley where they found him and the two passengers, all of whom had visible, but minor, injuries. The passengers were not arrested.

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