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Police Looking for Driver of Speeding Car That Triggered a Fatal Crash in Palmdale


Spechelle Pope, 28, a mother of four young children, and 37-year-old Lesther Deleon, a rideshare driver taking her to the grocery store, were killed in a Palmdale car crash, which officials say involved a hit-and-run driver who was also racing on a public roadway at the time. According to reports on CBS and KTLA, the two-vehicle crash occurred early morning on June 9 on Rancho Vista Boulevard near 11th Street West next to the Antelope Valley Mall.

Excessive Speed and Street Racing

Police say a Dodge Challenger and a Toyota Corolla carrying Pope and driven by Deleon, were going west on Rancho Vista when the Dodge struck the Toyota from behind. Investigators say the Dodge was involved in some type of street race at the time. The Toyota spun out as a result of the collision and hit a nearby light pole. Video from the scene showed the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. Both Pope and Deleon were pronounced dead at the scene. The Dodge’s driver fled the scene of the crash, police said.

A restaurant employee close by rushed to the scene and helped pull Deleon from the wreckage of his Lyft vehicle. The employee, identified by CBS as Jonathan Craig, said the driver was badly burned and passed away minutes after he was pulled out of the vehicle. The Challenger was abandoned nearby and Craig said he saw the driver of the Challenger jump into an Infiniti that sped away. CBS reports that the Challenger was registered to a company that operates Alamo, Enterprise, and National car rentals. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at 661-272-2400.

We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Spechelle Pope and Lesther Deleon for their tragic loss. Deleon was also apparently a beloved soccer coach who was driving for Lyft at the time.

Laws and Liability Issues

Racing on a public roadway is illegal under California law. Particularly during the pandemic, Southern California saw a spike in street racing and illicit events such as “sideshows,” which have resulted in major injuries and fatalities. Despite crackdowns by police officials in the Greater Los Angeles area, this is a problem that has persisted costing lives and tragedies such as this one.

In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, it is in the best interests of the victims and their families to contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and make sure their legal rights and best interests are protected. Our hearts go out to these families and communities that are grieving an unbearable loss.

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