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Truck Strikes, Kills Reseda Couple Crossing Dark Street

Safety: The husband and wife, who moved from Guatemala eight months ago, may have been running to catch a bus, their son says.

July 23, 2002|MANUEL GAMIZ JR. | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Reseda couple may have been running to catch a bus after work when they were struck and killed by a truck near Fashion Square Sherman Oaks, their son said Monday.

Santos Mendoza, 41, and Floridalma Estrada, 38, were hit shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday as they were crossing Riverside Drive near Ranchito Avenue in a darkened section of the street that was not a marked crosswalk, Capt. Greg Myer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Traffic Division said.

The couple, who died at the scene, had immigrated from Guatemala about eight months ago, family members said. They had jobs cleaning and gardening at a condominium complex on Ranchito Avenue and were headed toward a bus stop on Woodman Avenue, Myer said.

They crossed about 50 feet east of the intersection onto Riverside Drive, Myer said.

The couple's son, Bryan Mendoza, 14, later said that his parents may have been running late to catch the bus.

The truck driver, a 24-year-old Agoura Hills man, was not cited, Myer said.

"This is another tragedy that could have been prevented," said Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine at a Monday afternoon news conference on pedestrian safety.

Since Jan. 1, the Valley Traffic Division has responded to 10 traffic fatalities involving pedestrians, Myer said.

In eight of the cases, the drivers were found not to be at fault, he said.

Bryan Mendoza and a family friend, who shared an apartment with Mendoza and Estrada, were making arrangements Monday afternoon to have the couple's remains sent to Guatemala for burial.

"They were hard workers and great parents," Bryan said between phone calls to family in Guatemala.

"I have many fond memories of my parents, and I do not want to think about this right now."

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