A car fleeing gunfire slammed into a van Sunday, killing a West Covina couple returning from a concert by the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where their son plays in the orchestra.
The chain-reaction tragedy began about 12:45 a.m. and led to a crash in Boyle Heights that took the lives of Alejandro Alberto Posada, 49, and his wife Ester Elizabeth Posada, 43. They were declared dead at the scene.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday May 10, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Car crash: An article in Monday's California section about an accident that killed a West Covina couple gave incorrect street names. Atlantic and Lorena are streets, not avenues. Also, the article said the Garcia Recreational Center was between the Pomona Freeway and Interstate 10; it is between the Pomona Freeway and the Santa Ana Freeway in Boyle Heights.
The family was heading home from their son's high school spring concert at the Downey Civic Theater, said Alan Mautner, the school's orchestra teacher, who conducted the concert.
He said Alex Posada played lead bassoon and had several solo parts in Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" Saturday night.
Mautner said he received an e-mail late Sunday confirming that "Alex and his family were involved in a tragic car accident and he lost both parents."
"I was in great shock," he said.
Police said the incident unfolded when three men in their mid-20s stopped to urinate at Ramon D. Garcia Recreation Center, near the junction of the Pomona Freeway and Interstate 10.
As the men returned to their car, police said, they came under fire from suspected gang members who were hanging out in the park. Witnesses confirmed that they heard three to six shots, said Det. Scott Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The three men then fled in a yellow Chevrolet Caprice down Atlantic Avenue, where it sideswiped the Posadas' silver Toyota van as it entered the intersection at Lorena Avenue.
"This is the first time I've handled something quite like this," said Smith, a 20-year veteran assigned to the Hollenbeck Division police station. "This is a death as a result of a traffic accident caused by people trying to flee being shot at themselves."
Smith described the three men in the Caprice as "victims of attempted murder," and said there were no plans to press charges against the men. Two of the men were treated at a local hospital and released and the third is in stable condition.
"The proximate cause of the accident was because they were being shot at, not because they were being stupid," Smith said.
Murder charges could be pressed against the unknown assailants who fired shots at the men, Smith said.
Police narrowly averted yet a third tragedy Sunday during their investigation. They said a drunk driver drove through their yellow police tape, just missing several officers and police equipment.
Alex Posada was treated at a hospital and released. His younger brother and female friend remained hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.
"They were wonderful parents and they had two wonderful boys," next-door neighbor Gloria Lopez said of the family that lived in a middle-class neighborhood in West Covina.
Lopez said Alejandro Posada and his sons regularly asked if her family needed help around the house, and brought in their trash cans every week.
"They were very helpful," Lopez said. "Anything we needed done, they would do it."
\o7Times staff writer Ralph Frammolino contributed to this report.