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A curve in the road marks a trouble spot for Echo Park motorists and pedestrians

Mohawk bend curve in Sunset

Sunset Boulevard bends between Rosemont and Mohawk in Echo Park

ECHO PARK — The cause of Sunday’s crash that killed two female pedestrians near a bus stop at Sunset Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue has yet to be determined, police said today. However, the silver Mustang that hit the two elderly women was traveling on a curving section of Sunset that has seen numerous and, sometimes, fatal, crashes over the years.

The bend  is most pronounced on an approximately one block-stretch of Sunset where the road dips to the south between Mohawk Street and Rosemont. The driver involved in Sunday’s crash was driving eastbound on Sunset when he lost control of the Mustang as he attempted to pass another vehicle near Rosemont, police said.  It’s not clear, however, if the curve, which some refer to as the Mohawk Bend (not to be confused with the restaurant of the same name)  played a factor in the crash.

But many of those who live or work near the bend have seen and heard numerous collisions in recent years as vehicles have slammed into other vehicles, buildings and people.  Here’s a roundup of crashes that have taken place in recent years:

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November 2009

Speed was a deadly factor in a fatal Echo Park accident

The car involved in Sunday’s fatal accident in Echo Park was traveling nearly 70 miles an hour on Sunset Boulevard when the driver lost control of the vehicle, an investigator said today. The driver, Stephanie Silvestre, 21, of Los Angeles, was killed and a passenger was left in critical condition following the accident near Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street. “Speed was the main issue,” said Felix Padilla, a detective with the LAPD’s Central Traffic Bureau.

A preliminary analysis of skid marks and calculations showed that Silvestre’s vehicle, a Honda Accord sedan, was traveling at least 68 miles an hour as it barreled eastbound on a curving section of Sunset Boulevard, Padilla said. Padilla noted that the winding section of Sunset Boulevard west of Alvarado was the scene of a deadly accident last year. “She was just not able to make that curve,” he said of Silvestre.

December 2009

Another driver fails to make it through Echo Park’s Sunset Boulevard Bend

One person suffered minor injuries early this morning after their vehicle crashed into a light pole on Sunset Boulevard where it curves to the south at Mohawk Street, a section of  road that has been the scene of several accidents in recent years and has been nicknamed the Mohawk Bend.  Sgt. Sandor with the LAPD Central Traffic Bureau said one person was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence following the accident that took place shortly before 2 a.m. It appears the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Sunset Boulevard when it knocked down a light pole, parking meter and Bike Lane sign and also damaged the fence in front of the Lucy’s Laundrymart at Sunset and Mohawk.

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January 2012

Watch out for traffic before you run the Mohawk Bend Dash

Last Thursday, city crews installed four new metal barriers to prevent pedestrians from crossing  Sunset Boulevard where it bends to the south at Mohawk Street in Echo Park. Signs hanging from the barricades warn against walking across what many consider a dangerous stretch of road and to use the crosswalks a block away in either direction. But it was clear that the signs did little to keep pedestrians at bay. From women in high heels to parking valets in red jackets and deliverymen carting cases of wine, pedestrians of all stripes could be seen waiting for a break in traffic before taking a chance and scurrying across the four-lane street ahead of  the next wave of cars, trucks and buses.  Let’s call it the The Mohawk Bend Dash. The firefighters at the Station No. 20, which overlooks the intersection, say they have seen more people dashing across Sunset since the opening of new shops, restaurants and offices have attracted more pedestrians and created more reasons to brave traffic on the curving roadway.

“They will just wait for a break in traffic and just go,” said LAFD Capt. Armando Valencia, who has worked at the Echo Park fire station for a dozen years. “There has definitely been an increase.”

Photo by Vic Sage

Photo by Vic Sage

July 2012

Accident leaves car on Echo Park sidewalk

A car veered off the street and on to a Sunset Boulevard sidewalk in Echo Park this afternoon. Vic Sage took the above photo at about 2:40 p.m. on Sunset Boulevard near Rosemont Avenue, where the car damaged a tree and signage on the north side of Sunset.

Photo by Kevin Kuzma

Photo by Kevin Kuzma

December 2012

Echo Park crash blocks Sunset Boulevard

A crash involving a car and pick up truck this afternoon temporarily blocked some traffic lanes on Sunset Boulevard  near Rosemont Street.   The crash at about 1 p.m. left a light-colored sedan on the sidewalk and a pick up truck in the middle of the street, said Kevin Kuzma, who took the photo above.

February 2014

Echo Park motorcycle crash victim dies

The motorcyclist who crashed on Thursday night while in an apparent street race through Echo Park has died, police said today.

The victim, 20-year-old Jaime Aguilar of Los Angeles, died Saturday morning from his injuries, according to Detective Felix Padilla with the LAPD Central Traffic Division.

Aguilar and the driver of a car were racing eastbound down Sunset Boulevard at more than 60 miles per hour when Aguilar lost control of his bike and slammed into the front of the Echo Park fire station at the corner of Sunset and Mohawk Street.


January 2015

SUV crashes into PETA offices in Echo Park [updated]

An SUV crashed into the Sunset Boulevard offices of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this morning, smashing through an approximately 12-foot-high wall of glass and into a waiting area where staff members had gathered only minutes before. No injuries were reported, according to a PETA official and the L.A. Fire Department.

The black Toyota SUV was driven by an elderly couple who did not require medical treatment, according to fire fighters at nearby LAFD Station No. 20. The PETA offices remained opened following the crash that took place at about 10 a.m.

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said she heard a large “boom” come from the area near the front of the building where she and other employees had gathered only minutes before.

“It sounded like an explosion,” she said. “We came running out and there was this SUV in the building.”

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13 comments

  1. Thank you, Eastsider, for the added context to Sunday’s fatal crash.

  2. The police have their hands filled with all kinds of problems in this town, especially this area of town. But the downside is that they are not enforcing traffic laws like in the past, and it has caused a culture of bad driving habits. Almost every major intersection sees people running fresh red lights. Tailgaiting, and speeding are the norm. Garcetti and the LAPD need to step in and start a very aggressive enforcement of traffic laws. The traffic laws are written with one thing in mind, and that is public safety. The streets are dangerous today. A large percentage of people are high on any number of intoxicants. What a mess L.A. has become. Come on Garcetti.

  3. So many new shops have opened in this area, this increases traffic both pedestrian and cars. I see no effort made requiring these businesses to make proper parking for their customers. I know several drive thru restaurant’s who customers back up into the street, and the parking is blocked. There is no formula for proper striping for these stores, and forget about compact car requirements and drivers parking between the lines. The Trader Joes on Hyperion and the backup that it causes during rush hour is a prime example, and the new addition of a combo KFC/Taco Bell on Glendale Blvd. and Montana in Echo Park are a couple of examples of bad street and parking lot management.
    I know there’s a lot of people and little space, it would just be nice if the city could manage the space better.
    And if all you people who promised to leave the country if Trump got elected could just go already….
    That could just clear out a little more space.

    • Thanks for these constructive and on-point suggestions. Really exceptionally helpful.

    • More parking = more traffic = more crashes. Less parking = less traffic = less crashes. Remove the center turn lane from Sunset Blvd, install center running bus lanes and protected bike lanes. Its not “too many people” its too many cars! No one cares about our fellow Angelinos dying in the streets but if you take away .000001 inches of roadway from solo motorists everyone freaks out. Only caring about their perception of convenience. Terrible.

      • When you suggest adding “…center running bus lanes and protected bike lanes,” are you suggesting the bike lanes be placed parallel to curb, or? How would they be protected? Sincere questions.

    • You know where car crashes are less likely? In places that are pedestrian oriented and implement traffic calming measures for the safety of those trying to enjoy the street without being in a polluting, metal, death trap. More cars and more parking is the problem not the solution.

  4. Becky with the good hair

    I blame the billboard atop the PETA building that usually has some dumb message on it like “Its her milk not your milk” showing a cow. OMG PETA not even milk?

  5. And…. bar Bandini’s lack of a bouncer with people drinking on the street…Drunk people running across the street almost getting run over every weekend.

    • Ha! Natural selection at it’s finest. Kind of sucks for the poor guys car getting dented..
      Sorry guys I’m more a car person than a people person.

  6. The crash had nothing to do with people doing the Mohawk Dash, it didn’t even happen on the bend of Sunset and Mohawk, it was simply a terrible speeding driving who hit people on the corner of Rosemont. Why is The Eastsider trying to use this tragedy to dredge up this tired talking point again? It makes me feel like there is a big anti-hispter spin going on here with the amount of hit pieces you guys put out.

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