Unlicensed Driver Tenina Calhoun Crashes SUV Into Palm Tree; 3 L.A. Sisters Dead | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Unlicensed Driver Tenina Calhoun Crashes SUV Into Palm Tree; 3 L.A. Sisters Dead

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Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM

click to enlarge The mangled Infiniti. - KTLA
  • KTLA
  • The mangled Infiniti.
The three fatalities in Friday's tragic collision between an Infiniti SUV and a Hyde Park palm tree have been identified as a trio of sisters from the South L.A. area, according to City News Service.

The youngest, 19-year-old Jeshai Chanae Jones, was declared dead just hours after the 2:45 a.m. crash; Enisha Marie Davis, two years older, died Sunday afternoon; and 28-year-old Tiesha Turner held on until just past noon on Monday. Two additional passengers, as well as the driver, are still in the hospital.

The horrific crash has rekindled a politicized argument about impounding the cars of unlicensed drivers:

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the SUV driver, Moreno Valley resident Tenina Calhoun, "was cited Jan. 3 by the California Highway Patrol for driving without a license. Her vehicle was not impounded." And former L.A. Daily News editor Ron Kaye wrote yesterday:

[Calhoun] had been cited 30 days earlier by a CHP officer for driving without a license but her car was not impounded, presumably because under the "caretaker" doctrine a licensed driver was readily available. If it had been impounded, it would not have been released until last Friday, hours after the accident occurred.

Many California law enforcement agencies have begun to practice a more lenient impound policy, in response to claims by immigrants' rights groups that the impounds are racist. (Seeing as illegal immigrants don't have the option of obtaining a California driver's license.) Though Calhoun has not been identified as an immigrant, she might have gotten off easy a month ago as collateral.

Traffic cops reportedly found at least one open container of alcohol in the wreckage of Friday's crash. They believe Calhoun may have been speeding. CBS LA reported at the time that she and her passengers were "all wearing club attire," and that investigators found "empty bottles in and around the vehicle."

If toxicology tests prove that she was drinking or doing drugs that night, Calhoun could be charged with killing Jones, Davis and Turner. This is especially heartbreaking because Calhoun appears to have been friends with the young women who died.

More from KTLA:

Firefighters say five of the women were [ejected] from the vehicle, the sixth had to be extricated with the jaws of life.

Two of the victims were thrown as far as 75 feet from the SUV, according to firefighters.

All six victims were transported to the hospital in critical condition.

An apparent acquaintance of the crash victims named Adrian Sanlin writes on Facebook: "life is to short i lost three of my friends in a car accident two of them lived and on is still in a coma six friends at one time pain is all i fill."

And of one of the girls in particular, Sanlin says, "her plevic is fucked up her tooth missing and her face fucked up broken arm but she still here she look pretty to compaired to the rest."

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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