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Car-chase suspect kills pedestrian in Canoga Park, police say

October 13, 2012 | 10:33 am

A man who stole a car and led police on a high-speed chase struck and killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Canoga Park, authorities said Saturday.

About 11.30 p.m. on Friday, Los Angeles police officers were pursuing a 1991 Toyota Camry which had been stolen from a Canoga Park neighborhood earlier in the day, authorities said. Behind the wheel was a man police later identified as Ernesto Jacinto Lopez, 20, of Canoga Park.

Lt. Orlando Marino of the LAPD Valley Traffic Division said officers discontinued the chase after Lopez began “driving recklessly and at very high speeds.” There were many vehicles and pedestrians on the road, but Lopez failed to stop at red lights and stop signs, Marino said.

Lopez continued to speed south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, police said, and a short time later officers saw him strike the pedestrian, who was crossing eastbound in a northbound crosswalk of Saticoy Street, Marino said.

Instead of stopping, police said, Lopez accelerated southbound until he crashed into a cinderblock wall and a tree, Marino said. The suspect then tried to flee on foot but was soon apprehended by police.

The victim, identified as 59-year-old Canoga Park resident Arnel Cantal, was transported to a local hospital, where he later died, Marino said.

Lopez was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond, according to authorities.

Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to call Valley Traffic Division detectives at (818) 644-8035 or (818) 644-8021.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

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