Another street car race in the San Fernando Valley has resulted in a death and police lay part of the blame on the influence of a recently released film about high-speed drag racing.
The latest crash occurred about 9:45 p.m. Monday in Winnetka when one of two cars racing north on Winnetka Avenue slammed into a southbound vehicle turning left onto Roscoe Boulevard, police said.
One of the alleged racing drivers, Anthony Tai, 20, of Granada Hills, was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger and the driver of the car that was struck were taken to a local hospital, where they were listed in serious but stable condition, police said. Their names were not released.
Police said the other racer did not stop.
"It's a no-brainer that we did not have any street-racing deaths before the movie came out and now we have at least three deaths directly attributed to street racing since the movie's release," said Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Greg Meyer, head of the Valley Traffic Division.
Police do not know if the racing drivers in Monday's crash had seen the movie "2 Fast 2 Furious." A spokesman at Universal Pictures, which released the movie, would not comment on record on the police accusations.
As of May 31, the latest date for which citywide statistics are available, the LAPD reported that 77 people had died in traffic accidents this year -- 13 in the Central Bureau , 19 in the South Bureau, 16 in the West Bureau and 29 in the Valley.
The LAPD did not have a breakdown of how many of those deaths were directly related to street racing, but an officer in the Traffic Division said that the problem is especially severe in the Valley.
"The north end of the Valley has the worst problem in the city in terms of street racing," said LAPD Sgt. Bob Reboldt. "No other area of the city has that problem like the Valley does."
On June 19, two teens were killed in Sun Valley in a drag race when the car they were driving careened out of control, skidded across traffic lanes and crashed into a power pole, police said.
Vahe Parseghian, the 19-year-old driver from Sunland, died at the scene and his passenger, Tadeh Badalian, 18, of Glendale, died at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley.
The other driver fled the scene, but surrendered to police the following day. Charges in that case are pending.
On June 8, a 78-year-old man was killed in Granada Hills when his car was broadsided by another vehicle speeding along Rinaldi Street. Police said the speeding driver had just left the movie "2 Fast 2 Furious" when that crash occurred.