20-Year-Old Passenger Killed in Suspected DUI Crash

By Toni Guinyard and Samantha Tata
|  Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013  |  Updated 12:58 PM PDT
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Los Angeles police say the driver of this gold Ford Focus was speeding when he lost control of the car, sending it slamming passenger-side first into a pole in Northridge on Dec. 30, 2013. The crash killed a 20-year-old passenger and hospitalized the driver in critical condition.

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A 20-year-old woman was killed Monday when an alleged drunken driver slammed the car she was traveling in into a pole, authorities said.

The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. in the 17000 block of Roscoe Boulevard in Northridge, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

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The driver of a late-model Ford Focus was speeding when he failed to negotiate an S-shaped turn in the road and lost control, according to LAPD Detective Bill Bustos.

The Focus swerved into oncoming traffic and slammed passenger-side first into a power pole. Bustos said the car was going so fast, the 20-year-old victim was thrown from the front passenger seat into the backseat.

She was pronounced dead on scene. The victim was identified Tuesday as Jenifer Benga, pictured at right.

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Crews took about 11 minutes to free the trapped driver, LAFD Capt. Paul Egizi said.

Identified only as a man in his 20s, the driver was taken to a hospital and listed in critical condition, according to an LAPD spokesperson. He is expected to be arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Beer cans were found strewn across the street near the crash scene, Bustos said.

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