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Father and 5-Year-Old Daughter Dead, Family Injured In Devastating New Year’s Eve Collision

Los Angeles, CA – On December 31, 2023, at approximately 11:20 PM, a speeding white SUV ignored a stop sign in the Harvard Park neighborhood at the intersection of 60th Place and Normandie Avenue to strike the vehicle of a family of four with fatal results.

The sedan, occupied by 49-year-old Jose Manuel Pasgagasa, 30-year-old Luisa Arenas, and their two daughters, aged five and two years old, was violently forced into a street sign and fence. Alerted by the sound of the collision, compassionate bystanders swiftly intervened, helping to extricate the family from their smoking vehicle.

The Los Angeles Fire Department transported the two young sisters and their mother to a nearby hospital. The father was pronounced dead at the scene. The eldest of the two sisters, Ana Sofia Cortes Bernal, was also pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital despite medical efforts.

The driver of the SUV also received transport to a nearby hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The Los Angeles Police Department has indicated that the SUV driver faces potential charges of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter. South Traffic Detectives ask that anyone with information that can help identify the SUV driver come forward with information that may assist in his arrest.

Home surveillance cameras captured the white SUV moments before the crash, speeding down a side street. A red sedan followed close behind. Police revealed that the SUV had rear-ended a red sedan and appeared to be fleeing the other vehicle.

Neighbors reported that the red car came to a stop at the stop sign, but the SUV did not. It continued through to strike the family in their vehicle. Investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. 

Residents cite this accident as a reason they would like to see a traffic light installed at the intersection of 60th and Normandie.


Important Notes for Injured Passengers

Injured passengers may file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. However, some insurers try to minimize the amount paid out on injury claims. When injuries are serious, a seasoned accident lawyer can work for you to maximize compensation for your claims. Always speak to an experienced attorney after any accident resulting in a serious injury.

When injuries are fatal, some surviving family members are eligible to file what is called a wrongful death claim. A “wrongful death” occurs when the intentional action or negligence of another person or company results in someone’s death. A wrongful death claim is what surviving family members file to seek financial compensation on behalf of the deceased.

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