emergency vehicle
Photo by John Schreiber.

Authorities Thursday identified a woman killed when the SUV in which she was a passenger crashed in southwest Los Angeles while being chased by Gardena police.

Jacqueline Cortez, 21, died at the scene of the 10:30 a.m. crash Tuesday at Century Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, according to the coroner’s office.

The driver, 28-year-old Candido Rivera of Los Angeles, was treated at a hospital for injuries described as not life-threatening. He was initially booked on suspicion of assault on an officer and evading arrest, but is now facing a host of charges, including murder, fleeing a pursuing police officer and causing death and taking a vehicle without consent, for which he has a previous conviction, according to Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast.

Officers had tried to pull over the car, reported stolen from South Gate, but it kept going, police said.

“When the driver of the stolen car wouldn’t pull over, we initiated a pursuit,” police said in a statement. “At one point, the driver of the stolen car rammed one of our patrol vehicles. The pursuit lasted about three minutes before the suspect crashed into another vehicle and then hit a power pole at 99th and Normandie … (where) the stolen vehicle immediately caught fire.”

Officers rescued the driver from the burning car, but were unable to rescue Cortez.

–City News Service

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