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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Chatsworth

Police Seek Witnesses to Fatal Crash on 118

August 29, 2000|MARTHA L. WILLMAN

Investigators are seeking witnesses to a fatal crash on the 118 Freeway that killed a 14-year-old Winnetka girl, authorities said Monday.

Bernice Martinez was killed Sunday evening while riding with her two older sisters in a Honda Accord driven by Samer N. Rabadi, 20, of West Hills. Rabadi lost control of the car while driving about 75 mph near DeSoto Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Frank Sansone said.

The driver of a purple-and-white Honda Civic may have been racing the green Honda Accord in which Bernice was riding when the Accord hit a light standard and went up a dirt embankment on the south side of the freeway, Sansone said.

Rabadi and two other passengers in the Accord--Sandra Martinez, 19, and Carla Martinez, 16, also of Winnetka--were not injured, Sansone said. All four in the car were wearing seat belts, he said. Bernice was riding in the left rear seat, behind the driver.

The incident did not involve alcohol, police said, and there have been no arrests. However, investigators have confiscated the purple-and-white vehicle, which reportedly was being driven by Freddie Renteria, 19, of Newbury Park, Sansone said.

"We need more witnesses to tell us what events occurred prior to the crash," Sansone said.

He asked that anyone with information contact the CHP West Valley area office at (818) 888-0980.

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