UPDATED: Elderly West Covina woman killed by alleged drunken, racing driver

WEST COVINA — An elderly West Covina woman died and two young Rialto men were suspected of murder after a Christmas Day crash police suspect involved street racing and drunken driving.
Celia La Torre, 90, died at the scene of Tuesday’s 9 p.m. crash at Lark Ellen and Merced Avenues, according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez.
Vincent Lopez, 30, of Rialto was arrested on suspicion of murder and drunken driving in connection with the crash, while Victor Hugo Sanchez, 34, of Rialto was arrested on suspicion of murder, the corporal said.
A Mitsubishi Eclipse and a Ford Escort were southbound on Lark Ellen Avenue from Cameron Avenue about 9 p.m. when the Mitsubishi broadsided a Dodge Caravan being driven east on Merced Avenue by Torre’s 72-year-old son, West Covina police Lt. Jerry Pearman said.
“Witnesses reported seeing the Eclipse racing with a red Ford Escort,” Cpl. Lopez said.
“Based on witness statements, we suspect that they did run a red light,” Pearman added.
It appeared the speeding cars ran a red light when the Eclipse slammed into the minivan, Pearman added.
The elderly passenger, who used a wheelchair and had just been released from a West Covina hospital where she was undergoing treatment, was thrown from the minivan and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
The minivan driver’s elderly mother was thrown from the vehicle in the crash, officials said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the minivan was taken to a hospital in stable condition, Pearman said.
The driver of the Mitsubishi — later identified as Vincent Lopez — suffered a broken leg and was arrested at the scene, while his passenger fled the car on foot and was detained and questioned by police nearby, Pearman said.
The Ford Escort believed to have been racing the Mitsubishi fled the scene, Cpl. Lopez said, however follow-up investigation led detectives to arrest the alleged driver, Sanchez, early Wednesday in Pomona, Lopez said.
Both were booked on suspicion of murder, while suspect Lopez was also booked on suspicion of drunken driving, officials said.
The Ford was believed to have had passengers inside when the crash occurred, and police continued seeking them for questioning Wednesday.
The occupants of both the Mitsubishi and Ford were believed to have just left a bar in the 200 block of South Glendora Avenue prior to the crash, officials said.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is asked to contact West Covina police at 626-939-8500.

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