Woman Identified in Fatal PCH Accident in Pacific Palisades [UPDATED]

UPDATE: 10:45 a.m. July 20

The Coroner’s Office Sunday named the person who was killed by a vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades July 19.

The pedestrian was identified as Anna Benitez, 24, of Los Angeles, said Coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral.

Benitez was not in a crosswalk when she tried to walk south across Pacific Coast Highway, east of Sunset Boulevard, at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, said Los Angeles police S. Yoon of the West Traffic Division.

She was struck by a 2008 Nissan Versa that had been going east on Pacific Coast Highway. The driver in the Nissan made a U-turn, got out of his car and tried to render aid to the stricken woman, Yoon said.

Paramedics rushed her to Saint John’s Health Center where she was pronounced dead at 9:31 a.m. Saturday, he said.

Yoon said the driver was not arrested or cited. It was not immediately known why Benitez was attempting to cross PCH.

UPDATE 3:16 p.m. July 19

LAPD spokesperson Nuria Venegas confirmed with the Post there was a fatal accident at 3:30 a.m., July 19 at PCH and Sunset Boulevard.

A 24-year-old Los Angeles resident was crossing PCH at the intersection and was struck by a vehicle. Venegas said the driver of the vehicle stopped and tried to render aid while Los Angeles police and fire responded. The victim passed away, and when the Post contacted LAPD they could not provide the gender of the victim or whether the victim was still at the hospital or at the L.A. County Coroner’s Office.

The accident investigation is being handled by LAPD West Traffic Division. Venega noted no information was available if the driver was cited.

As traffic was being diverted to residential Pacific Palisades streets following the accident in the early morning hours, the first reports of a SigAlert being issued were not until around 8 a.m. Venega could not comment on whether there was a delay in issuing the SigAlert and added that decision was not handled by LAPD here.

LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey tells the Post the initial 911 phone call came at 3:32 a.m. and the caller did not specify a gender or further description of the victim. He said the victim was transported to St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Humphrey reminded that a SigAlert happens when a lane or lanes of roadway will be closed for a half hour or longer and for motorists to seek alternate routes, and LAFD, if responding, will typically park an engine over the affected lanes of travel. He said the formal closure of a SigAlert is decided jointly by the law enforcement agencies responding to an incident, as well as the agency that oversees management of the roadway. In this incident, Humphrey notes that PCH and Sunset can sometimes be a peculiar jurisdictional boundary near the Topanga border covered by L.A. city public safety services, while PCH is patrolled by California Highway Patrol and managed by Caltrans.

Humphrey said LAFD has no record logged of CHP issuing a SigAlert on Saturday morning’s fatal accident.

Original (9 a.m. July 19)

Pacific Coast Highway is closed Saturday morning between Sunset Boulevard and Temescal Canyon Road following a fatal early morning accident involving a pedestrian. A SigAlert was in effect and Los Angeles police put barricades on PCH.

As of 9:40 a.m., traffic on both PCH north and southbound are open.

Paramedics dispatched at 3:32 a.m. to the scene in the 17000 block of Pacific Coast Highway rushed at least one person to a hospital, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Officers at the scene said that an extensive investigation was underway as the person either had died or had been medically evaluated as likely to die. Since the victim was at a hospital, the coroner’s office was not immediately involved, a spokesman said.

To get around the closure, traffic is being detoured through the Palisades via Sunset Boulevard and Temescal Canyon Road.  According to LAPD West Traffic Division at 8:30 a.m., southbound PCH is open but northbound lanes will remain closed until further notice.

The accident remains under investigation.

City News Service contributed to this report. A correction was made to the victim’s age. This post has been updated from its original version.