A Boyle Heights man has been charged with killing an 11-year-old girl in a car crash at a taco stand where she was eating with her family last year, Los Angeles prosecutors announced.
Joe Louis Pérez, 22, was arraigned Nov. 1 on felony charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of a drug causing injury. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said he was under the influence of nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” while driving on Whittier Boulevard on Nov. 10, 2017 when he hit a parked car, which then went over the curb and collided with a group of people gathered at a taco stand.
The impact killed 11-year-old Elektra Yépez, who lived in the neighborhood, and injured her mother and two aunts. Pérez, who was arrested at the scene, could face up to 13 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.
Yépez was a student at Soto Elementary School and had recently transferred to Endeavor College Prep School, according to her online obituary. Her sister told KABC that Yépez “loved yellow, enjoyed school and dancing, and had dreams of one day attending Princeton University.”
Two years ago, a 48-year-old man was killed after a car crashed into another Boyle Heights taco stand.