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Suspect in Uber crash that killed 3 in South L.A. was on probation in murder case, LAPD says

Los Angeles, California - August 30, 2023- LAPD detective Ryan Moreno speaks during a press conference in Los Angeles Wednesday about the arrest of a suspect who collided with a ride-share vehicle that killed three people. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
LAPD Det. Ryan Moreno called Saturday's crash that killed three Uber passengers in South L.A. "vehicular homicide all the way." (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The man accused of killing three people — including two sisters — when he crashed into their Uber in South Los Angeles was out of jail on probation in connection with a murder case, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles resident Gregory Black, 31, faces three charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, and if convicted could face up to 25 years in prison to life for each charge, LAPD Det. Ryan Moreno said at a Wednesday morning news conference in Los Angeles. Black, a "well-known gang member" in the area, was out on five-year probation, police said.

At about 5:20 a.m. Saturday, Black was allegedly traveling north on Vermont Avenue in a white Mercedes-Benz when he ran a red light at Century Boulevard and T-boned a black Honda operating as an Uber and carrying four passengers, according to Moreno. Black was traveling "at an extremely high rate of speed," Moreno said.

The force of the crash spun the Honda around five times before it landed against a curb, Moreno said.

Read more: 3 Uber riders killed, driver and fourth passenger hospitalized after South L.A. car crash

The three passengers sitting in the back of the Uber were pronounced dead at the scene. They were identified as sisters Veronica Amezola, 23, and Kimberly Izquierdo, 27, and their friend, Juvelyn Arroyo, 23.

The front seat passenger, Jesus Lopez, had injuries to his left leg, chest and arms. The Uber driver, Michelle Lee, had a fractured neck and ribs and massive head trauma. They were both hospitalized and are recovering from their injuries.

Black was also hospitalized with a fractured left ankle and other injuries, according to Moreno. Black has a criminal history, including 11 felony charges and three convictions. He also has four misdemeanor charges and one conviction.

Before the crash, Black was allegedly driving at about 100 mph on Vermont Avenue and ran a red light at Imperial Highway about 20 seconds before he hit the Uber. Moreno said the collision site "looked like a bomb went off."

Read more: L.A. County sheriff's deputy accused of trying to cover up DUI crash of fellow deputy

“It’s obvious when you see these videos that it’s vehicular homicide all the way,” Moreno said. “You got an individual driving at speeds upwards of 100 mph in 35 mph streets, blowing red lights and ultimately basically playing roulette and hitting a car, T-boning a car and killing people.”

GoFundMe pages have been set up to cover funeral costs for Amezola and Izquierdo and for Arroyo.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.