An 18-year-old man was arrested after slamming an SUV into a Van Nuys building during a Halloween-themed event, killing one woman.
Seven others were injured in the crash around 8 p.m. Sunday night as attendees were closing up after a business gathering inside the building on Saticoy Street and Woodley Avenue. The building was intended for restaurant space, but leased out for a private Halloween-theme event organized by 818 Popup.
The 18-year-old SUV driver was taking part in a nearby street takeover, doing donuts in the middle of an intersection, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He crashed into the building at a high speed, while being followed by the LAPD helicopter overhead. Police identified the SUV driver as Luis Carrillo Castaneda. He's been booked for murder and police say this is not his first street racing crash.
Police identified the driver as 18-year-old Luis Carrillo-Castaneda. According to police, he has one prior arrest and has been in crashes before. The suspect is now in LAPD custody on suspicion of murder, police said.
More than 30 vendors were set up at the location, and over 400 people were in and out throughout the day. The event was just wrapping up when the crash occurred.
Francisco Lopez says several family members were among those attending the party.
"My granddaughter was behind the door and when she saw the car coming, she run away," said Lopez.
For the event organizer, the crash is a nightmare.
"It's not about me, it's about them and how I'm going to be able to help them," Genevieve Salazar said, crying and distraught by the crash.
Officer Jeff Smith with the LAPD would not estimate how fast the driver was going, but the speed was high.
"I can tell you from looking at the video, he was at an extremely high rate of speed," he said.
He added that there was a chance the driver was impaired, but toxicology tests will be the determining factor.
Smith also said at least part of the crash was recorded by the patrol unit Digital In-Car Video System. Units were in the area responding to reports about the street takeover when they were alerted to the SUV leaving that scene.