SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CA — On Friday, October 12, 2012, at about 11:30 p.m., a fatal traffic collision occurred on Topanga Canyon Boulevard north of Saticoy Street.
Los Angeles police officers were in pursuit of a 1991 Toyota Camry that was stolen from Canoga Park area. During the course of the pursuit, a police supervisor ordered the officers to discontinue the pursuit because the suspect was driving recklessly at very high rates of speed and failing to stop for multiple red lights and stop signs. There were many vehicles and pedestrians on the roadways during the pursuit.
Shortly after the pursuit stopped, officers observed the stolen vehicle, heading south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, hit a pedestrian who was crossing eastbound in the north crosswalk at Saticoy Street. The suspect then accelerated southbound and continued driving recklessly, failing to stop to render aid to the pedestrian who was left lying in the intersection. A police unit stopped immediately to render aid to the victim, Arnel Cantal, a 59-year-old resident of Canoga Park, who later died at a local hospital. Other police units reinitiated the pursuit of the suspect and saw the driver jump out of the vehicle while it continued moving, ultimately hitting a block wall and a tree.
After the suspect got out of the car and fled on foot, police officers chased him and arrested him a short distance from where the car came to rest. The suspect has been identified as Ernesto Jacinto Lopez, a 20-year-old resident of Canoga Park. He was arrested for second degree murder, and bail was set at $1 million.
Anyone with information about this incident asked to contact Valley Traffic Division, Detective J. Deaton at (818) 644-8035 or Detective W. Bustos at (818) 644-8021. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.