Two men were arrested on suspicion of murder after a traffic collision in South Los Angeles that killed a USC student – and investigators believe it was triggered by street racing, police said on Sunday.
Arian Rahbar, 21, was beaten and killed around 3 p.m. Saturday while walking on Jefferson Boulevard.
He was on a marked zebra crossing when he was hit by a Dodge Challenger Hellcat whose driver had driven a driver in an Infiniti G37, said Det. Ryan Moreno of the LAPD’s South Traffic Division.
Moreno said witnesses heard two cars crank at a traffic light on Jefferson and Western Avenues, then saw them drive east on Jefferson toward Harvard Boulevard, where Rahbar had just picked up food and pulled into a zebra crossing.
A driver in an SUV stopped so the student could cross, Moreno said.
The Dodge driver drove east in the second lane, met Rahbar and sent him into the air, the detective said.
Rahbar was a junior at USC, studied computer science and recently accepted a summer internship at Facebook. From Dunlap, Illinois, he was a straight A student who “did no harm to anyone,” said his father, Sam Rahbar.
“Racing on the road – they killed innocent people,” added the father. “An innocent child.”
Flowers and candles will be placed near the intersection where a USC student was fatally hit by a car on Saturday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Moreno identified Ricardo Aguilar, 24, from Los Angeles as the driver of the car Rahbar had hit, and Carlos Valdez Moscoso, 21, as the other driver. The two have been charged with murder and are due to be charged on Tuesday, he said.
Investigators haven’t determined how fast the two cars were going, Moreno said, but concluded that it was “definitely over the speed limit”.
The number of deaths from car accidents is increasing in LA
That year, the city recorded 257 traffic-related deaths on November 20 – 22% more than the same period in 2020.
Moreno said Rahbar was the 101st traffic fatality in the department’s south office, a nearly 25% increase from last year.
“We have never had such numbers,” said Moreno. “It’s so out of control right now.”
Less than 12 hours after Rahbar’s death, two other pedestrians – both women, both homeless – were hit by a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on Quay Avenue in Wilmington, authorities said.
One woman died from her injuries, making her the South Bureau’s 102nd road fatality, Moreno said.
The other pedestrian, he added, is fighting for her life.
The driver in that accident, 24-year-old Alvaro Batres-Garcia of Wilmington, was arrested for gross negligence, Moreno said. Moreno said he was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time.
The carnage wasn’t limited to South Los Angeles. On Friday, the LAPD responded to a pedestrian death in the San Fernando Valley.
In the accident, the driver of a white four-door Hyundai Accent crashed into an 85-year-old man who was crossing Saticoy Street in the middle of the block, police said.
The driver of this vehicle sped away and investigators seek public help in solving the crime.
Detectives said anyone with information about the Saticoy collision should call (818) 644-8035 or email [email protected].