Ventura – On July 3rd, a suburban culdesac on the east end of Ventura became an investigative crime scene when a domestic dispute escalated into a fatal collision. When it was all over, one resident was pronounced dead at the scene and a teenage resident was charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
It was shortly before 11 a.m. when the Ventura Police Command Center received a call from 65-year-old Verdena Owens regarding a domestic violence situation involving a teenage couple with a baby across the street from her home on the Halifax Court culdesac.
As officers were dispatched to the scene, Owens initially advised police that the 18-year-old suspect, Eric Lopez, had left the scene in a car. Lopez then reportedly returned to the scene before dispatched officers arrived.
According to neighbor Veronica Herrera, “The guy was in reverse and it seemed like he was out of control.” Eyewitnesses first saw the suspect back into a mini van in Verdena Owen’s driveway before reversing his car into her front yard, fatally pinning her beneath the vehicle. Investigators say Owens was still on the phone with police when she was struck by the vehicle.
In an interview, Commander Darin Schindler of the Ventura Police Department said, “It is possible that it was a criminal act on his part because she was on the phone with police and had been observing the domestic dispute.” Lopez was on probation for domestic violence at the time of this incident and is also being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, corporal injury to his child’s parent and felony child abuse.’
Erik Lopez is being detained at the Ventura County Jail and is eligible for release with bail set at $150,000. His formal arraignment is scheduled for July 8.
KeyT: Ventura Woman Run Over and Killed in her Own Yard