DUI Motorist Arrested After Striking Pedestrian on Venice Boardwalk

CBS News in Los Angeles reports that a gray Hyundai Elantra driver was arrested after he entered the Venice Boardwalk with his vehicle and hit a pedestrian on Monday.

The Los Angeles Police Department was called to the scene at approximately 10:00 a.m. Police found the suspect driver, 33-year-old Israel DeAvila, near the basketball courts on Ocean Front Walk. 

Officers ordered DeAvila out of his vehicle, but he refused to cooperate. Both police and Good Samaritans pulled DeAvila out of his car as he struggled. Eventually, police got DeAvila out of his vehicle and placed him under arrest.

During his jaunt down the boardwalk, DeAvila encountered street vendor JR, who told him he needed to get his car off the boardwalk. Instead, DeAvila hit the gas, and JR lost his balance, landing hard on the windshield, shattering the glass. 

“He just kept going,” JR said. “He revved it more, and that’s when I lost my balance, and I turned, my back hit his windshield really hard. In my mind, I was like, ‘Wow, this is really happening. This guy really went for it.'”

JR told CBS reporter Lesley Marin that he no longer feels safe on the boardwalk since drivers like DeAvila can maneuver around them. 

Video footage taken by a local bystander shows DeAvila behind the wheel, openly taking a sip from a beer bottle as he continued down the boardwalk. The man who took the video on his phone pleaded with DeAvila to get off the boardwalk but was ignored. Avila continued to drive down the boardwalk, crowded with pedestrians.

This is not the first incident of this type on the Venice Boardwalk. About 10 years ago, a hit-and-run driver killed a pedestrian. City officials installed barriers; however, DeAvila could enter the boardwalk with his car at an access point on Rose Avenue despite the barricades.

DeAvila faces several charges, including DUI, hit-and-run, and assault with a deadly weapon. As of Wednesday, he remains in police custody.

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