Driver Surrenders In Fatal Hit-And-Run After Abandoning, Covering Damaged Tesla

CBS Local 1 week ago
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A 35-year-old woman surrendered Wednesday in connection with a felony hit-and-run that killed a 34-year-old man.

Vanessa Gutierrez of Los Angeles surrendered around 2:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division, according to Detective Moses Castillo.

The victim, 34-year-old Emilio Perez, was pushing a cart across a street on Nov. 21 around 10:45 p.m. in the vicinity of Olympic Boulevard and Lake Street when he was struck by the light-colored possible Tesla Model 3, police said.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and Perez was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He never regained consciousness, Castillo said.

He died at a hospital on Nov. 25 as a result of blunt force injuries, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Perez was homeless when he was injured, having been estranged from his family for a number of months, Castillo said.

Following the collision, the driver fled the scene failing to stop to render aid and identify themselves.

The vehicle was later located at 12:33 p.m. Friday on the 1800 block of St. Andrews Place thanks to an anonymous tip.

The witness reported that a female had arrived and put a cover on the car. The vehicle had been rented, but not by Gutierrez, he said.

Police believe the car was left two blocks from the crash about an hour and 15 minutes after the crash with the help of an accomplice.

Security cameras on buildings surrounding the vehicle showed a second car, described as dark in color, show up to the area and drive the suspect away from the dumped car.

Video later showed a woman in a hoodie carrying a car cover. According to LAPD, the woman tried to cover up the damage to the Tesla.

Gutierrez, who had been identified by investigators as a person of interest in the case, is believed to be the one who covered the vehicle, the detective said.

“So now we believe there’s somebody trying to help this person escape prosecution.  And if you do that…you’re aiding and abetting after the commission of a felony crime being committed,” said Det. Moses Castillo. “You could be in some serious legal trouble for that as well.  So hey driver, don’t drag anybody else into this.  Let’s do the right thing.  Let’s hear your side of the story.”

Castillo described the woman as remorseful and said she only compounded her trouble when she left the scene of what may well have been deemed a non-criminal accident, provided she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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