A driver was beaten and died after driving a truck onto the sidewalk in Los Angeles. The victim, who was not identified by police, drove around a traffic control point and tried to turn right on red. He then drove over the curb and ran into two pedestrians before crashing into an apartment building at about noon Saturday.
The man’s death is under investigation as homicide detectives work to identify him through fingerprints or other means. But relatives of the man, who died at the scene, identified him to The Los Angeles Times as Jose Arturo Yanez. Authorities found several fake government identification cards in his pocket.
Yanez’s nephew told reporters that he just arrived from Mexico on Wednesday and was picking up a friend when he tried to get around the police checkpoint.
All we know is that he was going to go get a friend, said Arturo Yanez, a relative of the slain driver. He wasn’t going to let them stop him from getting his friend.
Arturo Yanez also told reporters that his uncle was turning right when he ran into pedestrians and then crashed into the apartment building.
At least four people were taken to hospitals with injuries, including two who had suffered severe trauma to the head and neck, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The other two injured included a woman in her 70s and another in her 20s or 30s.
Police say that the truck was stolen from a South Los Angeles business in January and that it was not marked in any way to indicate it was law enforcement.
We don’t know what the equipment in the vehicle is, whether there are lights or sirens, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said. This is going to be part of our investigation.
The truck also contained several metal caging pieces, according to police.
The lieutenant suggested that the suspect may have confused the unmarked vehicle for one that was stolen to be used against law enforcement.
We’re not sure what his thought process was, Neiman said. We’re trying to figure out why he did this and what happened here.
Los Angeles police were investigating the incident as an assault with a deadly weapon and an unprovoked attack on pedestrians. They expect to present their case to prosecutors next week, who will decide whether to file criminal charges.