Hollywood area

Driver who killed family on Highland had suspended license

highland-crash.jpgThe LA Times says that Solomon Mathenge, who is 74 and lives in Lawndale, had his drivers license suspended for not showing up in court on a traffic ticket. His DMV record includes citations for speeding and talking on a cellphone, the Times says. More on Wednesday's crash, which I posted about yesterday — some details have changed as the investigation proceeds:

[Mathenge] was driving north on Highland Avenue across Willoughby Avenue at 7:20 a.m. when he veered into oncoming traffic and hit a minivan carrying 27-year-old Saida Juana Mendez-Bernardino of Los Angeles and her daughters, Stephanie Cruz, 4, and Hilda Cruz, 6.

Mendez-Bernardino had been driving her oldest daughter to school. She died at the scene. The girls died a short time later at a hospital.

Mathenge, who was driving an Infiniti, was taken to a hospital and remains in critical condition. He has not been arrested or charged.

The older girl attended Melrose Avenue School, says KTLA, which had a somber report on last night's news. An impromptu memorial has appeared on the sidewalk at Highland and Willoughby.

WeHo Daily has set up an online fund to raise money for the victims' family. "This is a campaign coordinated by WeHo Daily to provide funeral expense assistance for the family of the mother and her two young daughters who died in a traffic collision on Highland at Willoughby in Hollywood on August 29," the message says at Indiegogo.com. "We have confirmed with LAPD that the family involed in the accident does need financial help and we have been in touch with the contact person provided by LAPD."

KTLA web photo of crash scene

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Hollywood area stories on LA Observed:
Hollywood and Vine
'Endless Summer' poolside
Hanging out with Mya Taylor of 'Tangerine'
Target eyesore in Hollywood: blame Garcetti