A 21-year-old Caltrans worker was struck and killed by a drunk driver Wednesday night on Interstate 10 in the Baldwin Park area of Los Angeles.
The victim, Connor Penhall, is the son of Hall of Fame motorcycle racer Bruce Penhall.
• A drunk driver plowed through construction barricades and slammed into a Caltrans contract worker.
• The victim, who died at the scene, was the 21-year-old son of Hall of Fame motorcycle racer Bruce Penhall.
• He was pronounced dead at the scene.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. John Escobedo said Penhall was working on the westbound side of I-10. He was operating a concrete saw in the middle lanes of the freeway, at Francisquito Avenue, when he was struck and killed by a Toyota RAV4 traveling about about 60 mph. The impact threw Penhall about 50 to 75 feet. He died immediately.
Escobedo said the SUV driver — 37-year-old Arcadia resident Tatsukiho Sakamoto — plowed through construction barricades, past cones and signs indicating a full freeway closure was ahead. There also were CHP patrol cars surrounding the area with their lights flashing, officer Kelly Rivas told NBC News.
After Sakamoto struck Penhall, he tried to flee the scene Caltrans workers said. CHP officers who apprehended him said Sakamoto smelled strongly of alcohol and was slurring his words. He failed a field sobriety test and was arrested on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony drunk driving.
Officers said Sakamoto did not have a California drivers license but he did have a license from Hawaii.
Penhall was working for a Caltrans subcontractor when he was killed. His father, Bruce Penhall, retired from racing after he won his second world championship in 1982 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He then joined the cast of the television series “CHiPs.”
CHP Southern Division offered its sympathies via Twitter: “Our condolences to our brother Bruce Penhall and his family. Your extended CHP family mourns along with you. Rest in peace @ConnorPenhall.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tweeted, “Godspeed to Connor Penhall! My heart goes out to Bruce and his family.”
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