LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) —A 27-year-old woman wanted for causing a fiery hit-and-run crash in North Hills back in June which killed one man and left four others critically wounded was captured earlier this month after fleeing to Mexico.
Maritza Joana Lara was captured in Southern Mexico with the help of U.S. Marshals, Los Angeles police and Mexican authorities.
She was flown back to Los Angeles International Airport to face hit-and-run charges in the June 16 wreck which killed 48-year-old Francisco Hernandez Rivas. On Aug. 17, she was booked into Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, per inmate records. She is being held on $2.2 million bail.
In the early morning hours of June 16, Lara was behind the wheel of a speeding 2016 Lexus carrying five people which ran a red light and broadsided a 2005 Nissan Murano in the area of Parthenia Street and Haskell Avenue, according to police.
Security cameras captured footage of the Lexus’ driver, believed to be Lara, walking away from the fiery crash and leaving behind her four passengers, including her younger sister, critically hurt.
The driver of the Nissan, Rivas, died at the scene. Police believe Rivas was on his way to church the morning he was killed. He left behind two teenage children.
On the morning of June 19, police raided the apartment of Lara’s mother, located at 8070 Langdon Ave., about one mile from the crash site, based on a tip that Lara may be there. However, when they arrived, they instead discovered one of her passengers, police said, who they took into custody.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, LAPD officials disclosed that they later learned that Lara had gone straight to a Greyhound station following the crash and caught a bus down to the Imperial County city of Calexico on the Mexico border.
“We discovered she had fled almost immediately after the collision, to a downtown Greyhound bus station, and obtained a ticket to Calexico,” LAPD Det. Nicolas Sinclair told reporters. “From Calexico we interviewed persons on the bus and ascertained that she crossed into Mexico.”
The LAPD was eventually able to get an address on Lara in southern Mexico.