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2 Arrested After Bystander Is Killed in Drag Race Crash

June 06, 2003|Jose Cardenas | Times Staff Writer

Police on Thursday arrested a 13-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man who allegedly had been drag racing when they crashed Tuesday and one car killed a bystander playing basketball in Bell Gardens.

The younger suspect, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was driving a car that had been reported stolen, said Phil Wagner, a Bell Gardens spokesman. The boy collided with a car driven by Arthur H. Concha, police said.

"It was the public's help and the willingness of eyewitnesses to assist police that enabled us to make these arrests within two days," said Police Chief Manuel E. Ortega.

Jesus Gomez was playing basketball in front of his house with two other teenagers and an adult about 8:15 p.m. when the cars came barreling down the 5800 block of Quinn Street, police said.

The cars collided, and the one driven by the 13-year-old crashed into the basketball players, police said.

Gomez was pronounced dead at a hospital, one day short of his 16th birthday. The three other victims were treated for minor injuries, authorities said.

Concha remained at the scene, Wagner said. The 13-year-old fled, and was located with the public's help, he said.

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