A $50,000 reward was offered Monday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the hit-and-run driver of a pickup truck that struck a car in Highland Park over the weekend, killing two brothers.
A passenger in the pickup truck also fled from the scene of the crash and was being sought.
The brothers — identified by the coroner’s office as Benigno Felix-Zuniga, 25, and Jesse Zuniga, 19 — were in a 2017 Ford Fusion, traveling east on Pollard Street and making a right onto northbound San Pascual Avenue about 1:15 a.m. Sunday when they were struck by a speeding 2018 Chevrolet Silverado, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Witnesses told police the truck reached speeds up to 80 mph before it struck the driver’s side of the sedan.
The Fusion was pushed 120 feet before the Silverado veered to the right and struck a parked vehicle that was pushed onto a sidewalk and into a wrought iron fence, police said.
“The male Hispanic driver and a male Hispanic passenger exited the Silverado and they fled on foot northbound on San Pascual Avenue to eastbound on Hough Street,” according to a police statement.
Firefighters responded, but both young men were pronounced dead at the scene.
The brothers had tried to get through a balky motorized gate into the parking area of an apartment complex, but when it didn’t open they drove around the block looking for a parking spot, and that’s when the crash occurred, according to CBS2.
Detectives have contacted the owners of the truck, who said various members of the family use the vehicle, but the driver has not been identified, according to CBS2.
Jesse Zuniga was a student at Cal State Los Angeles, his older brother a college graduate, the station reported.
The track program at Highland Park’s Franklin High School, where Jesse Zuniga was a runner, tweeted:
“It’s with a heavy heart that we report that one of our former Panther track athletes passed away in a horrible hit and run car crash last night here in Highland Park. Jesse Felix Zuniga will be missed by his family, friends and the Panther community.”
Anyone with information about the crash or who was in the Silverado was urged to call Detective Juan Campos of the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division at 213-833-3713 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, information can be submitted to the CTD watch commander at 213-833-3746 or by calling 877-LAPD-24-7.
Anonymous tips may be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-TIPS or at lacrimestoppers.org.
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