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Car that crashed into firetruck in Compton was being chased, not racing, says family of woman killed

WEST RANCH DOMINGUEZ, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team at the scene of a double fatal crash involving a Los Angeles County fire truck and sedan at the intersection of South Avalon Boulevard and East Compton Boulevard in West Ranch Dominguez, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Investigators on Tuesday survey the scene of a crash involving a Chrysler PT Cruiser and a Los Angeles County firetruck at Avalon and Compton boulevards. A man and a woman inside the PT Cruiser were killed. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A speeding car that slammed into a firetruck near West Compton early Tuesday, killing a man and a woman in the car, was being chased by the man's ex-girlfriend, according to the woman's family.

About 12:31 a.m., a Los Angeles County Fire Department truck on Avalon Boulevard was hit by a Chrysler PT Cruiser going through the intersection "at a high rate of speed" on Compton Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol spokesperson Angelia Gonzales. Three other cars were involved in the crash.

The man and woman in their 20s inside the Chrysler were pronounced dead at the scene. Four firefighters inside the firetruck were hospitalized with minor injuries. No one else was injured.

Read more: Two killed, four injured when speeding car slams into firetruck near West Compton

Some media reports cited a witness and the CHP as saying that the car was believed to have been involved in a street race, but the woman's family asserted that wasn't the case.

The woman was identified as 25-year-old Los Angeles resident Asia Allen-Bookman, her sister Tiffany Acker told The Times. The Los Angeles County coroner's office hasn't released the names of the deceased as of Wednesday afternoon, pending family notification.

Acker, 35, said that her sister had gotten into her friend's car and that they were most likely driving back from a video shoot and dropping Allen-Bookman at her workplace. The friend worked as an influencer, and Acker believes her sister met him about two to three weeks ago and started spending time with him.

During the drive, Allen-Bookman called a friend in a panic and told her they were being chased by the ex-girlfriend of the male driver, according to Acker. She told her friend she needed help and to meet them at Avalon and Compton boulevards. Her friend drove from Long Beach and arrived to the aftermath of the crash.

“She was hysterically crying,” Acker said about her sister. “I’m assuming that my sister was seeing her life flash before her eyes. She knew there was no way out.”

Read more: San Francisco and L.A. failed to reduce pedestrian deaths. One girl's killing shows why

The driver of the vehicle chasing them, which was a silver or white car of an unknown make and model, fled the scene, Acker said. She shot down the speculation that the crash resulted from a street chase.

"It’s impossible for a PT Cruiser to street race," she said. "It wasn’t road rage. They were being chased. And I just want that to be out there. They weren’t street racing, and normally the street takeovers around that area take place on Saturday and Sunday."

Allen-Bookman had attended Cal State East Bay for a year and was planning on going back to school for business administration, according to Acker. She had worked at Walmart and rose through the ranks at Target.

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One of five siblings, Allen-Bookman lost her mother when she was 12 years old. She was a loving mother to her own 3-year-old daughter, who is now being cared for by her father and aunts and uncle, Acker said.

“She loved life,” Acker said. “I’d like to say she was in her cocoon stage of life and trying to blossom into a butterfly.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for Allen-Bookman's funeral costs. A vigil for Allen-Bookman has also been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the crash site.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.