Murder and other charges were filed Friday against an ex-con accused of leading officers on a pursuit that ended with a crash that killed an innocent man and his girlfriend in Inglewood.
Gustavo Ruelas, 42, is set to be arraigned Monday on two counts each of murder and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle causing death and one count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person, possession for sale of heroin and possession for sale of methamphetamine.
According to the criminal complaint, Ruelas has prior convictions from 2003 for fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing peace officer and from 2010 for a drug offense.
Officers saw a blue Dodge pickup truck speeding and running a red light on Century Boulevard at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday, then the driver got on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway and officers tried to pull the truck over, but the driver fled, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Franco Pepi.
The suspect exited the freeway at Manchester Avenue and led officers on a pursuit on Inglewood streets, eventually turning north on Glasgow Avenue and crashing into a sedan traveling eastbound on Olive Street, Pepi said. The pickup driver tried to escape on foot, but was quickly captured by officers, the CHP officer said.
The two victims were trapped in the wreckage and had to be freed by Los Angeles County firefighters. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and the man was taken to a hospital, where he died, Pepi said.
The coroner’s office withheld the names of the victims pending notification of their relatives. But KTLA5 reported that the woman was a 22-year-old phlebotomist — a technician who takes blood samples — who was out with her 27-year-old boyfriend.
“She’s irreplaceable,” Brandon Furman, who identified himself as the woman’s cousin, told KTLA. “She was taken away from us too soon. She was a special person and she will be missed.”
Ruelas has remained behind bars in lieu of $2 million bail since his arrest, jail records show.