Woman Sentenced in Crash That Killed 2 at Taco Truck After Pursuit

The DUI crash near downtown Los Angeles occurred after a freeway pursuit in June 2012

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A woman who led officers on a pursuit before crashing into a crowd at a taco truck -- killing two people -- was sentenced Thursday to 35 years to life in prison.

    A woman who led officers on a pursuit before crashing into a crowd at a taco truck -- killing two people -- was sentenced Thursday to 35 years to life in prison.

    Elba Jimenez, 38, was convicted of second-degree murder and other counts in connection with the June 2012 DUI crash on Cesar Chavez Avenue east of downtown Los Angeles (map). The Upland woman led California Highway Patrol officers on a pursuit before exiting a freeway, speeding through a red light and striking people standing near the truck, investigators said.

    Marlene Alatorre, 19, a mother and recent high school graduate, and Claudia Fernandez, 38, were killed in the crash. Family members who spoke at Thursday's sentencing hearing told the court that Alatorre "knew how to put a smile on everyone's face."

    The pursuit began on the eastbound 10 Freeway near the Los Angeles Convention Center when a CHP officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop involving a drunken driver. The subject exited the 5 Freeway at Cesar Chavez Avenue, striking members of the crowd in a parking lot.

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    Southern California is notorious for its police pursuits. Recent months have seen a remarkable assortment of chases, from the infamous "money toss," to the man huffing on colorful balloons as police close in, to the pink-hoodied driver who sprinted from a getaway car while talking on her cell phone. As the moments from eight recent chases captured here illustrate, car chases defy logic and common sense, putting the police and the public at risk.

    Alatorre and Fernandez died at the scene.