A jury awarded $45 million in damages to the four children of one of two women killed when a drunk driver being chased by the CHP crashed into a crowd at a taco truck parked on César Chávez Avenue during a 2012 chase.

City News Service reports that a Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about an hour on Friday before finding that both Elba Jiménez, who was driving the vehicle that smashed into the two victims, and María Elena Rodríguez, who owned the vehicle but was not in it during the crash, were both liable in the June 16, 2012 death of 38-year-old Claudia Fernández.

The $45 million settlement is to be shared by Fernández’s children, now residents of South Gate. Each sibling was awarded $11.25 million, though it is unclear if they will be able to collect the settlement from Rodríguez or Jiménez, who is serving a 35 years to life sentence after being convicted in 2013 of two counts of second-degree murder.

An attorney representing the two women –who were longtime girlfriends at the time of the accident– argued that only the woman driving the vehicle and who crashed into the taco truck should be found liable for Jiménez’ death.

The family of the second crash victim, 19-year-old Marlene Alatorre, previously reached a settlement in a separate case filed against Jiménez and Rodríguez.

The victim’s mother, Holivia Alatorre, spoke to Boyle Heights Beat in a 2016 story about security on César Chávez Avenue.

Photo above from Flickr user Tom Hilton

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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