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Man killed in hillside crash worked at City Hall's Homeboy Diner

March 26, 2013|By Kate Mather

The man killed in a crash near Acton whose 9-year-old daughter hiked through difficult terrain for help worked at Homeboy Diner in L.A.'s City Hall.

Homeboy Industries, a well-known L.A. program that helps former gang members find jobs, wrote on its Facebook page that Alejandro Renteria -- known as Alex -- was killed in the crash on Sierra Highway early Sunday.

"Rest in Peace to our Homeboy forever Alejandro Renteria," a post read Tuesday.

“We all know him,” said L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon, announcing Renteria’s death during Tuesday’s council meeting. “He was a very friendly young man, a single parent. And we’re all devastated by his loss.”

Alarcon asked his colleagues to take steps to help Renteria’s daughter, saying she is in temporary foster care and has “no other family members in a position to take care of her.”

“I would ask that we work with Homeboy and help this young lady, because her father was such a good friend to so many staff at City Hall,” he said.

The Times previously wrote about Renteria, 35, when the diner opened in June 2011. Before getting the job, he told a reporter, his only work was "slinging dope and stealing."

When a reporter asked if he thought it was symbolic that he, a former gang member, now worked in City Hall, he smiled.

"I'm just happy to be here," he said.

Renteria's family told KTLA-TV Channel 5 he had continued to turn his life around and was a devoted father.

Authorities said Renteria was driving with his daughter early Sunday when their SUV went off the roadway and rolled down an embankment.

The girl, Ceilia, managed to climb out of the car and hiked to find help through what the California Highway Patrol described as a "very dark and threatening environment."

The 9-year-old described the experience in a brief interview with KTLA from her hospital bed.

She told the television station that she first tried to go to a house for help, but no one was home. Then, she said, "I climbed the top of a mountain and I was waving my hands."

That's when authorities said a passing motorist noticed the girl and called for help. Emergency workers arrived about 2:30 a.m. Sunday; Renteria was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. CHP said it was looking into whether alcohol was involved.


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Twitter: @katemather | Google+

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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