Three killed in high-speed crash, other driver held

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Wave Wire Services

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A driver accused of speeding, running a red light and slamming into an Uber vehicle early Aug. 26, killing three female passengers and injuring the driver and one other passenger, has been charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter and is due back in court next week.

Gregory Black, 31, is accused in the crash that occurred about 5:25 a.m. at South Vermont Avenue and West Century Boulevard, several blocks west of the Harbor (110) Freeway.

According to police, Black was driving a Mercedes north on Vermont at speeds possibly approaching 90 miles an hour when he ran a red light and broadsided an Uber vehicle, a Honda, that was heading westbound on Century. The suspect’s car spun out and came to rest in the center median. Black suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital and later arrested.

Killed in the crash were 23-year-old Juvelyn Arroyo, of San Juan Capistrano; 23-year-old Veronica Amezola, of Santa Ana; and 27-year-old Kimberly Izquierdo, also of Santa Ana.

Izquierdo and Amezola were sisters, and they had both been friends with Arroyo since childhood, relatives wrote on GoFundMe pages established on behalf of both families.

The Uber driver — a 38-year-old woman — and a male passenger suffered lesser injuries in the crash, authorities said.

Black was charged Aug. 29 with three counts of vehicular manslaughter, according to police and court records. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the Compton Courthouse and is due back in court Sept. 5, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.

Black remains jailed in lieu of $4 million bail, according to jail records.

At a news conference Aug. 30, Los Angeles Police Department Det. Ryan Moreno said the investigation into the crash was continuing, and it was unclear if drugs or alcohol factored into the collision. But he said Black is a known gang member with 11 prior arrests and three convictions, and he was serving five years probation at the time of the crash, stemming from a 2020 murder case in which he was involved.

Moreno said he is committed to ensuring that people who speed and cause fatal traffic collisions will go to prison.

“It doesn’t bring back the victims,” he said. “These families are suffering right now. One of the families, they’re preparing for two funerals, you know, both of their daughters.”

He said the crash scene was “just horrible.”

“To just walk around and see that many casualties, it looked like a bomb went off,” Moreno said.

Moreno said there has been a spate of speed-related crashes in the area in recent weeks, saying there have been 70 traffic-related fatalities within the LAPD’s South Traffic Division alone this year.

A GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Arroyo’s family had raised more than $13,000 as of Aug. 30. A page on behalf of Izquierdo and Amezola’s family has raised nearly $32,000.

Family members said the group had attended a concert in South Los Angeles and were on their way home when the crash occurred.

“Kimberly (Izquierdo) and Vero (Amezola) were both bright and full of life, with so much more life to live and gave so much love through their kindness, intelligence, compassion, and joy,” the GoFundMe page said.

“Kimberly had just graduated from nursing school and was achieving her goals of moving up in the medical field. She is an intelligent and dedicated student and was also involved in her dance team during her time at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“Veronica was a bright student who graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt. She spent her time doing field research amongst the Redwoods and was interested in environmental science. She recently got a job with the County of Orange working with animals and was looking forward to the start of a bright future.”

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