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2 Fatally Struck By Alleged DUI Driver While Sleeping On Skid Row

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 19-year-old woman suspected of driving under the influence was arrested Sunday in connection with a deadly accident in downtown Los Angeles.

Police said two homeless people were killed in the early morning accident on Crocker Street just south of 4th Street.

Upon arriving on scene, officers said they found the victims pinned underneath the car. Their identities have not been released pending notification of their next of kin.

They were apparently struck while sleeping on the sidewalk of Skid Row, KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported.

The alleged driver was identified as Carmen Elena Chavez of Los Angeles.

Reporting from the scene for CBS2 and KCAL9, Kara Finnstrom noted a Bible and candle were placed at the scene where the two people were killed.

She also spoke to a woman named Trinidad, who said she knew one of the victims. She said that man was known to the community and fellow homeless people as “Green Eyes.” She said he sold cigarettes to support himself. She described him as the kind of person who “would give you the shirt off his back. He was a really nice guy. We’re going to miss him.”

The accident occurred just after midnight, according to police.

They said Chavez was speeding east on 4th Street when her car failed to make a safe right turn, jumped the curb, hit a building and then flew about 50 feet.

Witness Michael McCoy said he heard a “boom” and then “I saw this car hit the side of a building where people were sleeping at.”

LAPD Officer Venus Hall said, “Officers responding to the scene found Miss Chavez under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested and booked for vehicular manslaughter.”

Chavez’ bail has been set at $100,000.

Anyone with more information about the accident was asked to call Central Traffic Detectives Josephine Mapson or Felix Padilla at (213) 972-1851.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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