Street Race May Be to Blame For Pedestrian Death in East San Jose

Two drivers face vehicular manslaughter charges

An illegal street race may be responsible for the death of a pedestrian who was pinned against a tree in the midday crash, authorities and neighbors said. 

The drivers of two cars that authorities said might have been racing in East San Jose were arrested Monday afternoon and accused of vehicular manslaughter following a fatal collision with a female pedestrian who was pinned against a tree.

The drivers are identified as Gabriel Bacerra, 19, and Manual Maldonado-Avalos, 24.

Officers received a call shortly after noon about the collision on Yerba Buena Road near Edenwood Drive, according to police San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol.

Two vehicles, a silver BMW and a silver Nissan Altima, were heading west on Yerba Buena Road at a high rate of speed, with the drivers possibly trying to race each other, Randol said. At least one vehicle struck the pedestrian, an adult female, while she was on the sidewalk or in the bike lane.

The two vehicles both ended up on the sidewalk and the woman was pinned against a tree, where she suffered fatal injuries, Randol said.

The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Kiran Pabla of San Jose. Her aunt told NBC Bay Area that Pabla often went jogging at a park in the area around noon.

Both Bacerra and Maldonado-Avalos were initially detained and later booked into the Santa Clara County Jail. One of the received medical treatment, authorities said.

Neighbor Gloria Perez said she has no doubt racing led to the crash.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said, adding that the street is a popular stretch for racing.

Police said they plan to go to City Hall in an effort to do something about rampant speeding in the area.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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