A woman who died when she jumped or was pushed from a car and was struck by other vehicles on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway in Sylmar was identified Friday, and police were hunting for a man believed to be the car's driver.
Maria Josefina "Josie" Jimenez, 22, was killed around 1:05 a.m. Thursday on the freeway near Polk Street. Police said Jimenez came out of the passenger door of her red car and was killed by oncoming traffic.
Los Angeles police said they were searching for the alleged driver of the car, 26-year-old Ricardo "Rick" Jimenez, who is no relation to Josie, but was having an affair with the married victim.
"We have multiple sources who have come forward, putting Rick and Josie at a local tattoo parlor before midnight, with Rick causing a disturbance and berating Josie in front of others," LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said. "We know Rick was driving Josie's red Toyota Corolla when the two left the parlor."
The victim's friend had gone to the tattoo parlor with the paid, but she left when Rick's abuse became blatant, Vernon said.
"Detectives pieced this fact together when a resident near the tattoo parlor came to the police station to report a woman had come to her front door around midnight, asking for a ride downtown," Vernon said. Josie Jimenez's friend confirmed she was the person who had gone to the house, because she was trying to get away from Rick Jimenez and his abusive behavior toward Josie, Vernon said.
Josie's estranged husband reported her missing, and police said he is not believed to have had any involvement in her death.
"Rick knows we want to talk to him over what happened," Vernon said. "His avoidance raises a lot of questions for us."
Rick Jimenez was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, with the word "hustler" tattooed on his neck and "West Coast" on his right forearm.
Officials were still searching for Josie's red Toyota, which they believe was abandoned by Rick Jimenez and has the license plate 6NED426. He is believed to be driving a black, two-door Honda Civic with chrome rims and license number 6RJG807. He lives on Kraft Street in North Hollywood and is believed to be in the Los Angeles area.
Authorities urged anyone with information to contact Detective Gretchen Shultz of the Mission Homicide Unit at (818) 838-9951.
--City News Service