The early afternoon traffic is pushing itself hard in all directions at the intersection of Balboa Boulevard and Lassen Street in Northridge. The drivers, however, appear somewhat mindful of the Caltrans crew doing repairs at the southeast corner of Lassen, at least when they stop at the corner traffic signal.
No one is paying attention to the neatly arranged memorial in front of the drive-thru hamburger stand and off to the left of the Caltrans workers. But it marks the location of a hit-and-run accident that look the life of Van Nuys resident Maribel Garcia on Oct. 20.
An LAPD spokesperson said another Valley resident in a white pickup truck suspected of colliding with Garcia’s vehicle, and then fleeing from the scene, has been arrested after turning herself into the Van Nuys Police Station.
The spokesperson said Barbara Vergara, 54, surrendered to authorities on Sunday. She was arraigned at the San Fernando Courthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 22, and has been charged with felony hit-and-run, and felony manslaughter. The spokesperson said Vergara also had a couple of outstanding warrants, but would not say what they were.
Vergara remains in custody in lieu of bail, according to LAPD.
The accident happened on Oct. 20 at about 5:20 a.m., in the area of Balboa Boulevard and Lassen Street in Northridge, according to LAPD Valley Traffic Division detectives.
They said a white pickup truck was headed southbound on Balboa Boulevard when it ran a red light and struck a grey sedan. The driver of the sedan, identified by police as Garcia, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the pickup truck then fled the scene on foot, according to police.
A spokesperson said Valley Traffic Division detectives felt the suspected driver was “reasonably close by” to the accident scene, and that they had good leads, when they received word that Vergara had surrendered at the Van Nuys station.
According to a police spokesperson, because the investigating officers’ were aggressive in finding the suspect’s family, several of Vergara’s family members encouraged her to turn herself in.
Drivers involved in a collision are required to stop, notify emergency services, remain at the scene to identify themselves and render aid if necessary, the spokesperson said.
The street memorial of candles, flowers and a solitary makeshift white cross remains there as a silent reminder of what happened at the intersection of Balboa Boulevard and Lassen Street.