HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — A suspected hit-and-run driver remained in custody Sunday, accused of killing a pregnant woman in Hawthorne.

The crash unfolded just before 2 a.m. Sunday as two ftiends — a man and the woman — were attempting to cross Prairie Avenue at 109th Street.

It was there that investigators say the pair was struck. The male victim — now identified as Tray Thomas — was taken to the hospital in stable condition. He has broken bones but is expected to be okay.

The female — identified as 40-year-old Roxanne Lynn Stempien of Hawthorne —  was declared dead at the scene.

(credit: CBS)

CBS2/KCAL9 confirmed the victim was four-and-one-half months pregnant.

As police were on the scene investigating, another driver barreled through the closure of the street, and slammed into a police car.

No one was injured in the second crash. Police initially detained the driver and the passenger, but released both after determining that it was an accident.

Stempien had a son and friends told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Joy Benedict she was thrilled to be pregnant again.

The suspect has been identified as 42-year-old Richard Marlin Merritt. He was arrested on a felony DUI charge as well as felony hit-and-run.

  1. Kathie Belle Edwards says:

    Statistically, I’m interested if the fatal hit-and-run driver left due to 1) drunk, 2) had no insurance, 3) had previous arrests, 4) was afraid of deportation. The uptick in the number of hit-and-run accidents is astounding and tragic. I want to know WHY!!!

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