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Police Identify Family Killed in Highland Avenue Crash

Detectives are continuing to investigate the crash.

Authorities Thursday identified a woman and her two daughters who were killed in a collision involving their minivan and an SUV allegedly being driven on the wrong side of a Hollywood street.

The crash happened about 7:25 a.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of North Highland Avenue.

Killed were Saida Juana Mendez-Bernardino, 27, Hilda Cruz, 6, and Stephanie Cruz, 4, all from Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

Hilda died at the scene, and her mother and her younger sister died at a hospital, the LAPD reported.

Mendez-Bernardino was driving a 2002 Dodge Caravan north on Highland Avenue and turning left onto Willoughby Avenue when her minivan was struck on the driver's side by a 2004 Infiniti SUV that "for unknown reasons was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes," police said. The Dodge minivan then crashed into a utility pole.

The Infiniti was driven by a 74-year-old Lawndale man who was hospitalized in critical condition, police said. His name was not released.

"Detectives do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision," police said in a statement.

Anyone with information on the crash was urged to call LAPD Detective Stephanie Banks, (213) 473-0227, or (877) LAPD-247.

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M. Saint-Jean August 30, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Heartbreaking. My heart goes out to those left behind who suffer such a serious loss. There is comfort that the girls are with their mother and compassion for those left behind. God bless this family.
Yami August 31, 2012 at 04:02 AM
......so sorry to hear about this. How must the husband/father holding up? My Condolences to the family. So, I guess there were 3 daughters, but one got dropped off at school, and the other 2 were on their way to the other schools or home with mom. It was earlier posted that a 40 yr male, was driving the Infinity SUV, and now they updated saying he is 74 yrs old. People were speculating a possible medical condition or excessive spee
Linda August 31, 2012 at 04:36 AM
I saw it shortly after it happened. I have been heart broken since. I am a mom and can't imagine starting my day like every other and yet it was the last. A reminder to cherish every moment and not sweat the small things. I hope they are angels for all the lived ones they left behind.
Russell Smith September 01, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Tragic.
Gloria Higueros September 04, 2012 at 08:24 AM
I feel the same way. My condolences to the family. Cherish every second with your family as you don't know if it's the last time you'll see them. I am a mother of three myself and feel so heart broken when things like these happen. I pray GOD watches over the family.

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