The hit-and-run motorist who allegedly was involved in a crash in South Los Angeles that left two brothers dead and their mother and sister injured was in custody Thursday, police said.
The crash occurred at about 8 a.m. on Jan. 9 at Main Street and 111th Place, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Taylor Lee Harris, 31, was arrested on Jan. 20 near Palm Springs and was booked on suspicion of murder, authorities said at a news conference on Thursday morning at the LAPD’s South Traffic Division. He was being held on $4 million bail, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported.
“I’m happy that the guy is caught,” Deborah Amaya, the mother of the fatally injured boys, said at the news conference. “Is he ever going to bring my children back? No. But, it makes me happy knowing that he’s not going to be able to do this no more to the next family or drive reckless. And our goal is for him to serve life in prison, because he didn’t just take away our children for 25 (or) 30 years — he took my kids for life.”
Earlier, police had released a statement describing what happened.
“The investigation revealed that a silver four-door sedan was traveling southbound on Main Street at a high rate of speed when it collided into the victim vehicle,” according to the LAPD statement.
“The collision caused the victim vehicle to travel off the curb and collide with a parked vehicle,” police said. “The victim vehicle was occupied by a 35-year-old mother with her three children: an 18-month-old boy, a 13-year-old boy, and a 16-year-old girl.”
Christopher Amaya-Pineda, 13, and Damian Amaya-Pineda, 18 months, were fatally injured, police said. Their mother, who was driving, and their teenage sister were hospitalized.
“They took like half of my life away, man,” Deborah Amaya told KCAL9 following the crash. “That guy that did this took half of my life away.”
“A mother should never bury her children,” said Amaya. “A mom should never bury her children and it hurts me so bad that I didn’t just lose just one. I lost two of my sons.”
According to police, Amaya was driving her two sons and daughter to their grandmother’s house when she was hit by a speeding Mercedes-Benz that went through a red light.
After the crash, the hit-and-run motorist got out of the vehicle and ran off, police said.
“Due to the severity of the crash, it is believed the suspect sustained serious injuries and may seek medical aid at a local medical facility,” according to an LAPD statement.
Anyone with any information on the case was urged to call the South Traffic Division at 323-421-2500. Tipsters may also call 877-LAPD-247, or Crime Stoppers 800-222-TIPS. They also may use the website www.lacrimestoppers.org.