Alleged Hit-And-Run Motorist Arrested in Mexico

M. Terry / SFVS

Haydee Santamaria (orange top), wife of hit-and-run victim Francisco Hernandez Rivas at the LAPD press conference Tuesday

NORTH HILLS (CNS) — A Southland woman arrested in Mexico in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash in North Hills took a Greyhound bus to the border “almost immediately” after the collision, police said on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, 27-year-old Maritza Joana Lara of Van Nuys was speeding in a white 2016 Lexus IS200 when she ran a red light at Haskell Avenue and Parthenia Street at about 5:35 a.m. on June 16, and struck the driver side of a blue 2005 Nissan Murano.

The driver of the Nissan, Francisco Hernandez Rivas, 48, was killed in the crash and Lara’s four passengers were critically injured.

Rivas, the father of two teens, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police released surveillance footage that showed the accident and what appeared to be the driver of the Lexus walking away from the scene.

A warrant was obtained for Lara’s arrest, and police sought public help to find her.

“We discovered that she had fled almost immediately after the collision to the downtown Greyhound bus station and obtained a ticket to Calexico,” LAPD Detective Nicolas Sinclair told reporters at a news conference Tuesday morning at the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division.

“From Calexico, we interviewed persons on the bus, and were able to ascertain that she (crossed) over into Mexico …,” Sinclair said. “We were able to coordinate with the US Marshals (Service) and also with Mexican federal police and with immigration (officials) in Mexico in order to deport her back to the United States.”

Lara was taken into custody on Aug. 15 and was deported two days later. Police said Lara has a prior DUI conviction. She faces charges that include felony hit and run.

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