Torrance Police Department car. Photo by John Schreiber.
Torrance Police Department car. Photo by John Schreiber.

A 22-year-old suspected car thief who was allegedly trying to evade police when he was involved in a crash that killed a Torrance man was charged Wednesday with murder and other counts.

Zachary Thomas Alexander of San Pedro was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at the Torrance courthouse on one count each of murder, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle and causing death and driving or taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent after a prior conviction.

The criminal complaint also includes an allegation that Alexander was free on bail in another case at the time of the Presidents’ Day crash, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Chunlei Wang, 56, died at the scene of the collision, which occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Monday.

About 15 minutes prior to the crash, Torrance police were notified that a silver Toyota Camry had been reported stolen in the area of Sepulveda Boulevard and Cabrillo Avenue.

Officers spotted the car pulling into a gas station at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Maple Avenue. Shortly afterward, the driver sped off northbound on Maple Avenue, at which time a pursuit began, said Torrance police Sgt. Ronald Harris.

The Toyota continued northbound and struck the victim’s vehicle at the intersection of Maple and Carson Street, Harris said.

Alexander and his passenger, a 29-year-old San Pedro woman, were taken to an area hospital for treatment of what were described as minor injuries.

City News Service

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