Girl, 5, both parents killed in Harvard Park crash

Wave Wire Services

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A year-old girl was fighting for her life Jan. 3, one day after her mother died from injuries suffered in a New Year’s Eve crash in the Harvard Park area of South Los Angeles that also killed her father and young sister.

The crash occurred around 11:20 p.m. Dec. 31, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Investigators said the speeding driver, identified as Issac Jordan Kahari, 22, was fleeing from an earlier hit-and-run collision, then ran a stop sign at 60th Place and Normandie Avenue, slamming into the family of four’s sedan.

LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno told reporters Jan. 2 the crash “was so violent” that it sent the family’s car careening through a street sign and a fence, coming to rest outside a nearby business. Moreno said some people who heard the crash described it as sounding like an “explosion.” He said several good Samaritans ran to the scene and “tried to do what they could.”

The father, identified by his daughter Angie on a GoFundMe page as Jose Manuel Pascagaza, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene and his 5-year-old daughter Mia died at a hospital. The mother, Luisa Bernal, 26, who was in the front passenger seat, was hospitalized with major injuries and died Jan. 2, according to police and the GoFundMe page.

The other daughter, year-old Hanna, whose birthday is next week, remained hospitalized but was showing signs of improvement, police said.

According to the GoFundMe page created by Angie Dayana Pascagaza, Hanna is “recovering satisfactorily from this tragic accident.”

Angie Pascagaza wrote on the page that she is hoping to raise money so the bodies of her parents and sister can be returned to Colombia “to give them a Christian burial with the whole family.” She wrote that the family had moved to California in November 2022 “looking for a better future for themselves and the girls since in Colombia the situation in the country was not very good.”

Friends and neighbors created a memorial to the family with photos, flowers and candles near the intersection of 60th and Normandie.

Kahari also was taken to a hospital and treated for serious but non- life-threatening injuries. Investigators said he is facing possible murder or gross vehicular manslaughter charges.

Police believe Kahari was impaired at the time of the crash but detectives are still waiting for a toxicology report.

According to police, the family had just moved to the area from Colombia about a year ago.

“We’ve just come through the holidays, which should be a time of celebration and renewal for all of our communities,” LAPD Deputy Chief Donald Graham told reporters. “And yet we’ve had four [fatal crashes] over the weekend that has resulted in the loss of six human lives in the city of Los Angeles due to traffic collisions. Last year, we’re going to end up with almost as many people killed in traffic collisions as we did by violent homicide.”