The average high-speed chase lasts only two minutes, but the outcome for innocent victims killed in pursuits is always the same no matter the length of the pursuit. To justify the death of an innocent bystander solely on the length of the pursuit is not justice.
--
Candy Priano

Man Convicted in Police Chase
That Killed a 4-Year-Old Girl
February 10, 2003 
CBS 2 Los Angeles
Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525

LOS ANGELES -- A 41-year-old Los Angeles man was found guilty today of leading police on a brief (15 block) chase through downtown Los Angeles last year that ended with the death of a 4-year-old girl and seriously injured three people, the District Attorney's Office announced.

After deliberating just one hour, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Darren Gilard Rhinehardt guilty of second-degree murder, evading an officer, evading an officer causing death, possession of cocaine, which are all felonies, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, said Deputy District Attorney Dmitry Brodsky. Rhinehardt was found guilty of leading LAPD officers on a 15-block chase through downtown after he nearly hit a police car on June 1, 2002. At Sixth and Spring streets, Rhinehardt ran a red light and slammed into a minivan, which in turn was pushed into a light. The pole fell on 4-year-old Evelyn Vargas, who was killed instantly as she held her mother's hand while they were waiting for a bus. Brodsky said police had actually pulled back a block behind Rhinehardt when he ran a red light and hit the van. Rhinehardt, who has a previous strike for assault with a deadly weapon, is facing 39 years to life in prison when he is sentenced March 12 by Superior Court Judge Ruffo Espinosa.  

 


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