The suspect of a four-car collision at the intersection of Clark Avenue and Carson Street on May 15 faces felony charges of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.
Mario Ivan Palafox, the 21-year-old suspect, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on May 21. His first preliminary hearing was Wednesday May 29 and he is scheduled to reappear in court again June 5 for another preliminary hearing. His bail is set at $100,000.
The fatal crash killed Elaine Logay, a 47-year-old mother of two and a math teacher at Santa Ana City College, police said.
Logay was driving a Toyota Supra that was struck from behind by the suspect in a white Lexus sedan in a left-turn lane outside LBCC. The impact forced the Supra to move forward into a Scion TC, and Logay was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained at the collision, police said.
Palafox is being charged with two counts in the California Penal Code 192 (C) for vehicular manslaughter and the California Vehicle Code 20001 (A) for leaving the scene of an incident. If convicted, Palafox could face 8 to 12 years in state prison, said to Detective Sirilo Garcia of the Long Beach Police Department. Garcia also added that the sentence depends on the suspect’s criminal history.
Palafox fled the scene on foot after the collision and was arrested on the LAC. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, police said.
Jane Robison, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, denied claims that Palafox was driving under the influence when the collision occurred.
“There’s no evidence that he was driving under the influence and if there was we would’ve charged him for that,” Robison said.
Palafox’s public defender Douglas Warrick declined to make a statement when contacted about the case.
Garcia said there were no pre-collision skid marks at the scene of the incident so the police could not determine an estimated speed that Palafox was driving under. However, Garcia said that most eyewitnesses estimated that Palafox was driving more than 70 miles per hour.
English teacher Velvet Pearson, who was driving near the incident, said she saw Palafox driving to her left and was “surprised by his speed,” which she also estimated was more than 70 miles per hour.
“He went by me really fast and I slowed down because I didn’t want to get in an accident,” Pearson said, before adding how she called 911 as soon as the collision happened.
“I was really worried about the people hit because it was dramatic from my viewpoint. It was just a terrible thing to see.”