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Victims of car crash mourned

Three siblings were in a vehicle hit in Eagle Rock by another car.

September 06, 2008|Jia-Rui Chong | Times Staff Writer

To the sounds of "Amazing Grace" and the soft sobs of mourners, pallbearers Friday rolled three white caskets draped in white cloth down the aisle of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

The coffins carried the bodies of three siblings -- the only children of Antonio and Janis Cordova -- all killed in a high-speed crash last week in Eagle Rock.

Family members, friends and fellow students nearly filled the cathedral's pews for the funeral of Cristyn Nicole Cordova, 19, who was pregnant; Toni Marie Cordova, 16, and Andrew Cordova, 15.

Cristyn's unborn son, who also died in the crash, was to be named Carlos Antonio Campos, according to the program for the service.

The sisters, along with friend Jason Hernandez, 19, died Aug. 27 at the scene on Colorado Boulevard where their car was hit by another vehicle; Cristyn was driving. Their younger brother, Andrew, died at a hospital about 12 hours later. Nineteen-year-old Carlos Alberto Campos, the father of Cristyn Cordova's unborn son, was critically injured.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said Friday that they were still investigating the crash. Although police initially said they believed the cars were racing, officials said Friday that all they know for certain is that speed was a factor.

"We don't have anything to tell us it was road rage or any illegal street race," said Josephine Mapson, a detective with the Central Traffic Division.

Earlier this week, the district attorney's office formally charged Rostislav Shnayder, 19, of Eagle Rock with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. He was allegedly driving the car that witnesses said struck the Cordovas' vehicle shortly before it spun out of control and hit a tree.

LAPD Sgt. William Kipp said Friday that his understanding was that Shnayder and the Cordovas did not know each other. "I think it was random," he said.

On Friday, cousin Krystal Ishibashi told the congregation that the three siblings were inseparable in life and that she was glad to know that they were together in the afterlife.

"It was as if they were the sun, the moon and the Earth," Ishibashi said. "Without one another, the others could not exist."

Cristyn Cordova, who was studying at Pasadena City College to become a teacher, was remembered as a young woman excited about impending motherhood and always willing to help others. Toni Marie was remembered as a "girly tomboy" who liked to play sports with the guys. Another cousin, Brandon Leon, spoke of how much Andrew Cordova loved teasing his sisters.

After the service, friends and family hugged each other outside the cathedral.

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jia-rui.chong@latimes.com

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