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LA Suspect Charged with Manslaughter Counts for Crash That Killed 3 Uber Riders

LA Suspect Charged with Manslaughter Counts for Crash That Killed 3 Uber Riders

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (AlexStar/iStock)

City News Service

City News Service

8/30/2023

Updated: 8/30/2023

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LOS ANGELES—A driver accused of speeding, running a red light in South Los Angeles, and slamming into an Uber vehicle, killing three female passengers and injuring the driver and one other passenger, was charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter and is due back in court next week.
Gregory Black, 31, is accused in the crash that occurred about 5:25 a.m. on Aug. 26 at South Vermont Avenue and West Century Boulevard, several blocks west of the Harbor 110 Freeway.
According to police, Mr. Black was driving a Mercedes north on Vermont at speeds possibly approaching 90 mph when he ran a red light and broadsided an Uber vehicle, a Honda, that was heading westbound on Century. The suspect’s car spun out and came to rest in the center median. Mr. Black suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital and later arrested.
Killed in the crash were 23-year-old Juvelyn Arroyo, of San Juan Capistrano; 23-year-old Veronica Amezola, of Santa Ana; and 27-year-old Kimberly Izquierdo, also of Santa Ana.
Ms. Izquierdo and Ms. Amezola were sisters, and they had both been friends with Ms. Arroyo since childhood, relatives wrote on GoFundMe pages established on behalf of both families.
The Uber driver—a 38-year-old woman—and a male passenger suffered lesser injuries in the crash, authorities said.
Mr. Black was charged on Aug. 29 with three counts of vehicular manslaughter, according to police and court records. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the Compton Courthouse on Tuesday and is due back in court Tuesday, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.
Mr. Black remains jailed in lieu of $4 million bail, according to jail records.
At a news conference on Aug. 30, Los Angeles Police Department Det. Ryan Moreno said the investigation into the crash was continuing, and it was unclear if drugs or alcohol factored into the collision. But he said Mr. Black is a known gang member with 11 prior arrests and three convictions, and he was serving five years probation at the time of the crash, stemming from a 2020 murder case in which he was involved.
Mr. Moreno said he is committed to ensuring that people who speed and cause fatal traffic collisions will go to prison.
“It doesn’t bring back the victims,” he said. “These families are suffering right now. One of the families, they’re preparing for two funerals, you know, both of their daughters.”
He said the crash scene was “just horrible.”
“To just walk around and see that many casualties, it looked like a bomb went off,” Mr. Moreno said.
Mr. Moreno said there has been a spate of speed-related crashes in the area in recent weeks, saying there have been 70 traffic-related fatalities within the department’s South Traffic Division alone this year.
A GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Ms. Arroyo’s family had raised more than $13,000 as of Wednesday morning. A page on behalf of Ms. Izquierdo and Ms. Amezola’s family has raised nearly $32,000.
Family members said the group had attended a concert in South Los Angeles and were on their way home when the crash occurred.
“Kimberly [Izquierdo] and Vero [Amezola] were both bright and full of life, with so much more life to live and gave so much love through their kindness, intelligence, compassion, and joy,” according to the GoFundMe page. “Kimberly had just graduated from nursing school and was achieving her goals of moving up in the medical field. She is an intelligent and dedicated student and was also involved in her dance team during her time at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
“Veronica was a bright student who graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt. She spent her time doing field research amongst the Redwoods and was interested in environmental science. She recently got a job with the County of Orange working with animals and was looking forward to the start of a bright future.”
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