Nine Year Old Killed in Traffic Collision – UPDATE

September 19, 2001

"Nine Year-Old Killed In Traffic Collision"

Los Angeles: On Wednesday, June 13, 2001 at approximately 2:40 P.M., a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision occurred on Bronson Avenue near Carlton Way in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Rebecca Gayheart, a 29-year-old resident of Los Angeles, was driving a 1996 Jeep Cherokee northbound Bronson Avenue. She entered a two way left turn lane with the intent of passing other northbound vehicles that had slowed. Several vehicles had come to a stop to allow nine-year-old Jorge Cruz to cross the street. Jorge Cruz lived in the area and was crossing about 160 feet south of the nearest intersection. As Cruz reached the center of the roadway, he was struck by Gayheart’s vehicle which was estimated by witnesses to be traveling in excess of 40 miles per hour. Cruz sustained severe head trauma and was transported to Children’s Hospital by Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics. Cruz remained in critical condition until 9:10 A.M. the next morning, after which time he succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the collision.
The follow-up investigation is on-going and is being conducted by West Traffic Division Detectives. Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office for possible filing of criminal charges.
On September 18, 2001, Deputy District Attorney Joseph Shindler reviewed the case and referred it to the City Attorney’s Office for consideration of a misdemeanor filing. Deputy City Attorney Annette Sierra reviewed the case and determined there was sufficient evidence to file a single charge of 192 (c) (2) of the penal code, Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter Without Gross Negligence, against Gayheart. She will be notified by the City Attorney’s Office of the date and time of her court appearance for arraignment on the charge.