Vic­tim’s fam­ily sues in street race that killed 2

Par­ents of one of two men who died when a Ford Mus­tang spun out sue car owner.

Los Angeles Times - - OBITUARIES - By Hai­ley Bran­son-Potts hai­ley.bran­son@la­ Twit­ter: @hai­ley­bran­son

The par­ents of a man killed dur­ing an il­le­gal street race in Chatsworth two months ago have sued the owner of the car that hit him.

Eric Siguenza, 26, of Los An­ge­les was watch­ing a night­time speed con­test near Canoga Av­enue and Plummer Street on Feb. 26 when a souped-up Ford Mus­tang spun out of con­trol and plowed into the crowd. Siguenza and an­other spec­ta­tor, Wil­son Thomas Wong, 50, of Tor­rance, were killed, and a third man was in­jured.

Siguenza’s par­ents, Rey­naldo Siguenza and Maria Perez-Siguenza, filed a civil law­suit this week against Henry Michael Gevor­gyan, the owner of the Mus­tang. Irael Valen­zuela, 39, the driver of the other ve­hi­cle in the race, also was named in the suit filed in Los An­ge­les County Su­pe­rior Court.

Po­lice ini­tially iden­ti­fied Gevor­gyan, 22, as one of two driv­ers in the race and dis­trib­uted his photo, which quickly rock­eted across the In­ter­net. Gevor­gyan turned him­self in to po­lice days later, but video shot at the race showed he was not driv­ing the car, his at­tor­ney, Kate Hardie, said. In the video, he ap­pears to be flag­ging the driv­ers to start the race.

The Siguen­zas’ law­suit also says that Gevor­gyan was not driv­ing and that the plain­tiffs do not know the iden­tity of the driver.

The suit al­leges that Valen­zuela was driv­ing a Nis­san GTR and that the owner of that ve­hi­cle is also un­known.

The com­plaint al­leges neg­li­gence, as­sault, bat­tery and in­ten­tional in­flic­tion of emo­tional dis­tress. Eric Siguenza’s par­ents seek un­spec­i­fied dam­ages.

They say that they suf­fered grief and shock af­ter their son’s death and that they bore eco­nomic dam­ages, in­clud­ing med­i­cal ex­penses and fu­neral costs.

Gevor­gyan and Valen­zuela fled the scene and did not try to help Siguenza af­ter he was struck, the com­plaint says. Their fail­ure to no­tify au­thor­i­ties so Siguenza could re­ceive med­i­cal treat­ment was a sub­stan­tial fac­tor in his death, the law­suit says.

“It’s hor­rif­i­cally tragic,” Christo­pher Au­mais, an at­tor­ney for Siguenza’s par­ents, said of the death.

Au­mais said that there are prob­a­bly oth­ers who helped or­ga­nize the race, and that he would con­sider bring­ing law­suits against them once they are iden­ti­fied.

“They know it’s bad, they know peo­ple could get hurt,” he said of il­le­gal street rac­ing. “It’s just so ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

Of­fi­cer Drake Madi­son, a Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman, said there is still an “ac­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion” and that po­lice con­tinue to search for peo­ple in­volved in the race.

Gevor­gyan and Valen­zuela also face two crim­i­nal counts of mur­der and have been or­dered to stand trial, said Ri­cardo San­ti­ago, a spokesman for the Los An­ge­les County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice. They are ex­pected to be ar­raigned on the charges next week, San­ti­ago said.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­lege that the men helped pro­mote and or­ga­nize the deadly race.

The dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice does “not be­lieve Gevor­gyan was driv­ing,” San­ti­ago said.

Valen­zuela, who has ap­peared on the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s street rac­ing show “Street Out­laws,” was re­leased from jail on more than $2 mil­lion bail last month.

His at­tor­ney, Jay Jaffe, said Tues­day that he had not yet seen the suit. Jaffe ac­knowl­edged that his client was driv­ing the other car in­volved in the race but said it was a stretch for pros­e­cu­tors to charge Valen­zuela with mur­der. Pros­e­cu­tors, he said, typ­i­cally file man­slaugh­ter charges in such cases.

The rac­ers, Jaffe said, did not “have the men­tal state re­quired of some­body who wants to kill some­body.”

Valen­zuela knew the two men who were killed, Jaffe said.

“He’s dev­as­tated by the charges but more so by the re­sults,” Jaffe said. “He knew th­ese peo­ple. They were friends. The last thing in the world he wanted to see hap­pen was some­thing like this.”

Brian van der Brug

A SOUPED-UP Ford Mus­tang owned by Henry Gevor­gyan that spun out of con­trol dur­ing a street race, killing two men, is read­ied for tow­ing from Chatsworth.

Mar­cus Yam

HENRY Gevor­gyan faces two counts of mur­der.

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