Los Angeles police investigators Wednesday said an alleged speeding motorist who collided with an Uber vehicle over the weekend, killing two sisters and their friend inside, is a gang member with an extensive criminal history and was on probation related to a murder case.
Gregory Black, 31, is charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of Juvelyn Arroyo and Veronica Amezola, both 23, and 27-year-old Kimberly Izquierdo. Amezola and Izquierdo were sisters, and Arroyo was a friend.
The Los Angeles Police Department said Black was speeding in a white Mercedes-Benz on early Saturday morning, and ran multiple red lights before he T-boned the Uber at the intersection of Century Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. Investigators said Black was traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Arroyo, Amezola and Izquierdo were in the backseat of the Uber sedan and died at the scene.
“It’s obvious when you see these videos, that it’s vehicular homicide all the way,” LAPD Det. Ryan Moreno told reporters. “It looked like a bomb went off,” he said of the crash site.
The impact was so great that the Uber spun five times before stopping at a curb, authorities said. A front passenger in the vehicle and the driver were injured and are recovering, the LAPD said. Black was taken to hospital with a fractured left ankle and other small injuries.
“He has a pretty checkered past,” Moreno said of Black’s criminal history.
Black has three felony convictions and was on probation related to a murder case at the time of the collision, Moreno said. Detectives also found a loaded firearm in the vehicle he was driving, police said.
“Mr. Black is going to prison,” Moreno said. “He has an extensive criminal history. I’m 100% confident he’s going to go to prison. This man should never come out and see the light of day.”
Family members of the young women said they were on their way home from a concert when the collision occurred. FOX Los Angeles reported. Black faces up to life in prison for each charge.
Authorities are still trying to determine if alcohol or drugs played a factor in the collision.
“It’s almost worse that there isn’t any kind of alcohol or DUI,” Moreno said. “You’re actually sober and you’re actually driving like that sober? Who’s going to get behind the well and drive 100 mph and run red lights?”
Black is being held in the Los Angeles County jail on a $4 million bond, according to jail records. He is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 5.
The same night of the fatal Uber collision, a 17-year-old was killed by a driver who was speeding and ran a red light, the LAPD said. Moreno noted that he often sees people racing and speeding on Los Angeles roads.
“Speed is killing people in this city… it’s out of control the amount of collisions we’re having on a daily basis because of speed – something has to be done,” he added.