SAN FERNANDO (CNS) — A woman accused of fleeing to Mexico following a hit-and-run crash on Father’s Day in North Hills that left the other driver dead and four passengers in her car seriously injured pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Sept. 17, to murder and other charges.
Maritza Lara, 27, of Van Nuys, is charged with one felony count each of murder, hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and driving under the influence of alcohol and a drug causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense.
The charges include an allegation of causing great bodily injury to the passengers in her vehicle.
Lara allegedly ran a red light at Haskell Avenue and Parthenia Street about 5:35 a.m. June 16 and struck the driver’s side of a blue 2005 Nissan Murano.
The driver, Francisco Hernandez Rivas, a 48-year-old father of two teens, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police and prosecutors allege that Lara got out of the white 2016
Lexus IS200 and fled on foot without rendering aid to the injured.
Lara was subsequently located and taken into custody in Mexico, with the assistance of the Los Angeles Police Department, US Marshals Task Force and immigration authorities in Mexico. She was turned over by the US Marshals task force upon her arrival at LAX and arrested Aug. 17 on outstanding warrants related to the fatal crash.
Police said Lara has a prior DUI conviction.
Lara — who remains jailed — could face up to 31 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.