HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — A 27-year-old woman has been charged with running over her friend and then fleeing the scene following an apparent road rage incident in Hollywood last month, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Samantha Cunha of Pearl Beach, Fla., was charged with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death after 26-year-old nightclub manager Sophia Ardalan was crushed by her own Mercedes.
On January 21, just before midnight, the Ardalan’s Mercedes bumped into a motorcyclist on his bike on Sunset Boulevard. According to the motorcyclist, he then followed them to Ardalan’s apartment on the 1300 block of North Martel Avenue.
Witnesses said the women argued with him, then got back into their car.
“The car began to drive away,” LAPD Capt. Brian Wendling said. “The driver was ejected, fell out of the car somehow, striking a tree.”
Cunha, the passenger, then got behind the wheel and tried to move the gear shift, but ended up causing the car to move, crushing Ardalan. She then ran from the scene and was later arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.
The motorcyclist remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.
“She had a loving heart, a big heart,” Gloria Ardalan, the victim’s mother, said. “She loved people, and people loved her. She was very gracious and hardworking and just a very devoted mother.”
Ardalan, who leaves behind her 4-year-old daughter, had just recently become friends with the woman, according to her mother.
If convicted as charged, Cunha faces a possible maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, West Traffic Division.