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News Release

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Media Relations

Suspect Arrested After Being Involved in Hit and Run Traffic Collision

LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
PRESS RELEASE
Thursday, December 30, 1999

On Sunday, December 26, 1999, at approximately 6:30 P.M., three people were killed as a result of two separate traffic collisions that occurred near the intersection of 42nd Street and Normandie Avenue. Nine other persons were seriously injured including a 12-year-old girl who lost her mother as a result of the incident. The victims of this tragic accident were identified as Oscar Arguello, 32 years of age; Anabell Chavez, 29 years of age; and Kevin Steward, 40 years of age.

On Wednesday, December 29, 1999 at approximately 6:30 P.M., the Los Angeles Police Department arrested Avery Johnson for 3 counts of 191.5 PC, Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated.

Johnson was arrested at Martin Luther King Hospital as he was being released from injuries he had sustained during the collision. It was determined that Johnson was driving a 1985 Buick Regal at the time of the collision.

South Traffic Detectives determined by an analysis of the crime scene and through interviews that Johnson was driving his Buick in lane #1 in excess of 60 miles per hour while under the combined influence of cocaine and PCP. He collided into the rear of a 1990 Toyota pick-up truck being driven by Oscar Arguello also in lane #1. This collision caused the Toyota to spin in a counter clockwise direction into southbound lanes causing a chain of accidents that killed 3 people and injured 9 others.

As the new millennium approaches, this case serves as a tragic example of what can happen when someone drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

South Traffic Detectives will be available to discuss this case and is urging the media to use this tragedy to focus on the seriousness and tragic consequences of driving after drinking or taking drugs.

For additional information, contact Detective Bill Whittaker, Detective-in-Charge, South Traffic Division at 323-290-6063.




For Release 12:00 pm PST
December 30, 1999