A man who allegedly helped to promote and organize an illegal street race that led to a crash in Chatsworth that killed two spectators and left another injured was charged Thursday with murder and engaging in a speed contest.
Irael Valenzuela, 38, of Los Angeles, pleaded not guilty this afternoon in a San Fernando courtroom to two counts of murder and one count of engaging in a speed contest on a highway causing a concussion.
Another man, Henry Michael Gevorgyan, 21, was charged Tuesday with the same counts.
Eric Siguenza, 26, of Los Angeles, and Wilson Thomas Wong, 50, of Torrance, were killed about 2:05 a.m. Feb. 26 in the 21400 block of Plummer Street, near Canoga Avenue. A third person was seriously injured.
Valenzuela and Gevorgyan are accused of helping to promote and organize the illegal street race.
“We do not believe that either one of them are the driver,” said Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office.
Los Angeles police had initially said they believed that Gevorgyan was driving the Ford Mustang that veered out of control and into the spectators. But his attorney, Kate Hardie, said her client was not driving the Mustang and said that video showed him standing on the street between the two vehicles at the starting line.
Gevorgyan — who had been sought by Los Angeles police since the day of the crash — turned himself in Saturday at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Station, according to police.
Valenzuela was arrested Tuesday by Los Angeles police.
The two each were jailed on about $2 million bail and are due back in court March 11.
If convicted as charged, they could each face up to 33 years to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service