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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Police Set Up Fund for Crash Survivor, 6

February 02, 2001|CAROL CHAMBERS

Two Los Angeles police officers said Thursday they have set up a trust fund for 6-year-old Jamie Lopez, who survived a Jan. 20 car crash that killed her mother and sister.

Ernest Jimenez, senior lead officer at the LAPD's Devonshire Division, and his partner, Richard Sauer, said they were so touched by the girl's plight that they decided to help.

"I've been in the department 16 years and have seen so many crashes, but this just blew me away," Jimenez said. "It's like you're a garbage can that gets so filled up with all this stuff that you feel you'll crack if you don't do something positive. Someone suggested we get her flowers. I'd rather help get her a college education."

The officers also established a fund for Jamie's older sister, Jessica Roman, 17, who was not in the car.

The crash occurred when the driver of a pickup headed south on Tampa Avenue allegedly ran a red light at Parthenia Street and broadsided the station wagon driven by Judith Lopez of Sylmar, who died along with her 8-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

The task of informing the Lopez family about the crash fell on Jimenez and Sauer.

"It was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do," Jimenez said. "When we made the notification to the grandparents that their daughter and granddaughter died, we also had to tell them that their other granddaughter's injuries were extremely grave. It didn't look like she was going to make it. But she survived."

The pickup driver, Christopher Demos, 30, of Van Nuys, may have suffered a seizure just before the crash, police said. He has not been arrested and the crash is still under investigation.

Jamie Lopez remained hospitalized Thursday at Northridge Hospital Medical Center with injuries that include broken bones in her face, hip, leg and wrist, spokeswoman Kate Preston said.

The officers visit her every day, Preston said.

Contributions may be made to the Jamie Lopez Trust Fund and the Jessica Roman Trust Fund at Bank of Granada Hills, 10820 Zelzah Ave., Granada Hills 91344.

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