LOS ANGELES – Authorities have arrested a suspected hit-and-run motorist involved in a crash in South Los Angeles that left two young brothers dead and their mother and sister injured, police said Thursday.
The suspect, 31-year-old Taylor Lee Harris, was arrested Jan. 20 in Desert Hot Springs and is charged with two counts of murder, Det. Ryan Moreno with the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Central Division announced during a press conference Thursday. Harris also had an address listing a home in Henderson, Nevada.
The crash occurred about 8 a.m. on Jan. 9 at Main Street and 111th Place, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Details of the arrest were expected to be released at a Thursday morning news conference at the LAPD’s South Traffic Division office.
“The investigation revealed that a silver four-door sedan was traveling southbound on Main Street at a high rate of speed when it collided into the victim vehicle,” according to an LAPD statement.
“The collision caused the victim vehicle to travel off the curb and collide with a parked vehicle,” police said. “The victim vehicle was occupied by a 35-year-old mother with her three children: an 18-month-old boy, a 13-year- old boy, and a 16-year-old girl.”
Christopher Amaya-Pineda, 13, and Damian Amaya-Pineda, 18 months, were fatally injured, police said. Their mother Debbie Amaya, who was driving, and their teenage sister were hospitalized.
“They took like half of my life away, man,” Debbie Amaya told KCAL9. “That guy that did this took half of my life away.”
“A mother should never bury her children,” said Amaya. “A mom should never bury her children and it hurts me so bad that I didn’t just lose just one. I lost two of my sons.”
According to police, Amaya was driving her two sons and daughter to their grandmother’s house when she was hit by a speeding Mercedes-Benz that went through a red light.
After the crash, the hit-and-run motorist got out of the vehicle and ran off, police said.
“Due to the severity of the crash, it is believed the suspect sustained serious injuries and may seek medical aid at a local medical facility,” told reporters after the crash.
Anyone with any information on the case was urged to call the South Traffic Division at 323-421-2500. Tipsters may also call 877-LAPD-247, or Crime Stoppers 800-222-TIPS. They also may use the website lacrimestoppers.org.