A traffic collision in Hollywood early Monday morning left two people dead, including a maintenance worker for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
The collision occurred at approximately 2 a.m. after officers from the LAPD’s Hollywood Division pulled over the driver of a late-model Chevrolet Camaro for making an illegal left turn near Sunset Boulevard and Argyle Avenue. A female passenger got out of the Camaro, and police were talking to her when the driver abruptly sped away, LAPD spokesman Aareon Jefferson said.
“We don’t know why he fled the scene,” Jefferson added. “The officers began searching for the vehicle and determined it had collided with another vehicle at Hollywood [Boulevard] and Gower [Street].”
The Camaro collided with a Metro maintenance van, causing the Metro employee to drive onto a sidewalk on the northwest corner where the van erupted in flames. Firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire within minutes, LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said.
The Metro employee, who was later identified as Willie Toy, was pronounced dead at the scene. Metro spokeswoman Anna Chen said Toy was a 15-year employee of Metro and worked as a custodian lead. He was driving to a Metro Red Line subway station on Hollywood Boulevard when the collision occurred.
“During this time of great loss, my deepest condolences are with his family and friends,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said in a statement. “I ask that you join me in keeping Mr. Toy’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”
The driver of the Camaro was transported to a hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead, Scott added. Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office spokesman Ed Winter identified him as Oscar Chavez, 29. Winter did not know where Chavez resided and added that an autopsy is pending.
The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street remained closed Monday morning while an investigation was conducted by detectives from the LAPD’s Multi-Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team. Jefferson said the specialized LAPD unit investigates all collisions involving government-owned vehicles and employees.
Detectives are also interviewing the female passenger of the Camaro and witnesses and reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine what led to the collision. The investigation will likely take several weeks to complete, Jefferson added.
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