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Wrong man arrested in freeway crash that killed sisters

October 24, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The wrong man was arrested for a hit-and-run freeway accident that killed two sisters, the California Highway Patrol said.

Jesus Delfino Mendoza Martinez, 32, was released from custody late Thursday, two days after he was arrested for investigation of manslaughter.

Evidence now points to another suspect, police said.

The mix-up arose over confusion about who owned the Ford sedan that police say struck and killed Laura Gudino, 21, and Fabiola Gudino, 18, on the Pomona Freeway early Sunday morning, said CHP spokesman Louis Gutierrez.

Mendoza had informally transferred ownership of the car the previous day to a man now believed to be the hit-and-run driver, Gutierrez said. The new suspect is believed to have fled to Mexico.

Gutierrez explained that Mendoza was arrested because he was still the car’s legal owner and held the registration. ``We had good probable cause to arrest (Mendoza). He was very uncooperative as far as giving us information. When he realized that he was going to go to jail, he did start giving us some more information,″ Gutierrez said.

Meanwhile, mourners gathered Thursday to bury the sisters who were killed while trying to be good Samaritans.

The Gudino sisters were struck and killed as they ran across the freeway to help four people in an overturned sport utility vehicle.

Update hourly