A police pursuit in Crenshaw ended up in a fatal crash after the driver who was being pursued by the police crashed into a house killing 86-year-old Aida Villavicencio and critically injuring her 90-year-old husband.
According to a KTLA news report, LAPD officers were on their way to the South Traffic Division early morning on June 26 when a driver rear-ended their patrol car near Hobart and Martin Luther King boulevards. A fatal pursuit then ended in tragedy.
Police Pursuit Turns Deadly
The officers got out of the car and tried to approach the vehicle that rear-ended them. But, the driver fled northbound on Western Avenue and police began to chase the suspect for reckless driving. During the pursuit, the driver went west on 39th Street, and when he approached Buckingham Road, he attempted to turn. However, he lost control skidding off the roadway and crashed into a single-story home.
Villavicencio and her husband became trapped under the SUV. The officers attempted to extricate the trapped victims. Paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced Villavicencio dead at the scene. Her husband suffered a head injury and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The couple’s daughter was also home at the time of the crash but was not injured. The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Eliseo Ixchopcalel, was arrested and booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter. The investigation is ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Aida Villavicencio for their tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Villavicencio’s husband who has been critically injured.
California law provides immunity to police departments that have adopted a “vehicle pursuit policy.” California Vehicle Code Section 17004 states: “A public agency employing peace officers that adopts and promulgates a written policy on, and provides regular and periodic training on an annual basis for, vehicular pursuits … is immune from liability for civil damages for personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the accident of a vehicle being operated by an actual or suspected violator of the law who is being, has been, or believes he or she is being or has been, pursued in a motor vehicle by a peace officer employed by the public entity.”
In this particular case, injured victims can seek compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the crash. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney will also be able to determine whether the officers involved in this case followed proper procedures in initiating the pursuit.
While it is important that criminals are apprehended, police officers have a responsibility to balance that with the safety of other drivers and pedestrians on the roadway. Families of deceased victims in such cases would be well advised to get an experienced injury lawyer on their side to ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.