Mar 11, 2021
On February 17, a high-speed car accident on Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles turned fatal. Monique Munoz, 32, was killed when her Lexus was struck by a Lamborghini Urus SUV in a rear-end collision. 17-year-old Brendan Khuri, son of multi-millionaire businessman and CEO of FJ Holdings, James Khuri, was driving the Lamborghini when it struck Munoz’s vehicle. The Lamborghini SUV, with a retail price of over $200,000, was Khuri’s 17th birthday gift from his father. Munoz died at the scene, her Lexus having reportedly been split in half by the force of the crash. Her body had to be cut free from the wreckage. Khuri was reportedly taken to the hospital for injuries.
Brendan Khuri was eventually booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter on February 23, and the Los Angeles Police Department has recommended pressing charges. The District Attorney’s Office, led by recently elected George Gascon, was presented with the case last week but has indicated the matter is still under review. The family of Monique Munoz has expressed anger and frustration over the District Attorney’s inaction, noting that weeks have passed and they have received little communication.
“I contacted them one time and after that they mentioned that the case was still pending and had not even reached their desk yet,” Monique’s mother, Carol Cardona, said according to ABC7 News. “And this has been over a week already and I have not heard from anybody.” Munique Munoz’s family members have been actively posting on social media to raise awareness using the hashtag #JusticeForMoniqueMunoz.
A candlelight vigil for Munoz, a receptionist with aspirations of attending law school someday, was held the week after the crash. The family has announced plans for a protest this weekend, Saturday, March 13, at 2 p.m. The vigil will take place at the same location where the fatal car accident occurred – the intersection of Olympic and Overland in West Los Angeles.
Isaac Cardona, Munoz’s stepfather, called the teen’s actions “senseless.” “Kid’s racing down the street in a Lamborghini, 17 years old … doing 120 miles per hour, hits and kills her,” Cardona said in an interview with CBS Los Angeles. “Who gives a kid a Lamborghini? I don’t care how much money you have, you don’t give a kid a sports car – especially a kid that doesn’t even know how to drive right … I want him prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.
Car and Driver reports that the type of vehicle Brendan Khuri was driving produces 641 horsepower and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 190 mph.
NBC4 Los Angeles reported that Munoz’s family members believe James Khuri is using his wealth and influence to delay the justice process. A number of posts on James Khuri’s Instagram account, with over a million followers, were recently deleted. One such post displayed a picture of James and Brendan Khuri next to their respective Lamborghinis with the caption, “My son and I hanging out cruising in the Hills. Everyone knows who’s [sic] car is faster.” In another post, James Khuri wrote, “Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit.”
Brendan Khuri was allegedly street racing with an Audi when the fatal crash occurred.
James Khuri issued a statement Wednesday via Instagram: “I am aware that the time it has taken me to communicate this has caused rather pain for everyone affected. Knowing that this will never do justice for the family of Monique Munoz, I want to apologize to the Munoz family for the tragic loss of their daughter. There are no words I can say to alleviate the pain that you’re are experiencing.”
The Daily Mail has reported that the LAPD are investigating James Khuri’s social media accounts and have sent requests to Instagram and Facebook to preserve the posts as evidence. “We are interested in those posts,” Detective James Dickson of the LAPD’s West Traffic Department said.
Dickson also told the Daily Mail, “I can’t regurgitate what we found, but based upon multiple witness statements that corroborate one another, it’s clear that there was gross negligence.” “We believe that that vehicle was potentially engaged in a speed contest with the Lamborghini. That’s a separate investigation and that’s ongoing so I’m not willing to comment at the moment, but we do believe that it was involved … From evidence recovered and eyewitness accounts the vehicle was being operated at an unsafe speed.” Dickson added.
Mark Werksman, a criminal defense attorney representing the Khuri family, denied Brendan was racing that the time of the fatal crash. Werksman told the Daily Mail that the Khuri family and Munoz family are “working amicably towards reaching a financial settlement.”
Detective Dickson indicated to the Daily Mail that police are currently awaiting DMV records for Brendan Khuri to confirm whether or not he had a provisional driver’s license at the time of the traffic collision. California law stipulates that teenagers are allowed to apply for an instruction permit at 16, but are not allowed to drive alone until they either pass a test or reach the age of 17. Brendan had turned 17, but it has yet to be confirmed that he passed his test. Additionally, California minors are prohibited from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. until they reach age 18.
Detective Dickson indicated that street racing has become a problem throughout Los Angeles since the COVID-19 lockdown began a year ago. “It’s been particularly egregious during COVID, especially at the beginning when people were locked down and staying home,” he said.
“People had open roads, particularly surface streets, that they were basically able to do whatever speed they wanted on due to the lack of traffic. So we have seen an increase in reckless driving … I can’t say specifically we’ve seen an increase in fatalities because we’re about on par, but we’ve seen more fatalities from people driving at high rates of speed and a few street racing incidents … But by definition we should be lower because there were less people on the roads in the first probably six months of the lockdown,” Dickson added.
The case involving Brendan Khuri’s driving and the death of Monique Munoz is ongoing, and the District Attorney’s Office is continuing to review whether charges will be filed. District Attorney George Gascon has come under fire of late for his controversial special directives, which many feel are an injustice to victims of crime. “He’s [Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon] really lenient on certain crimes, certain criminals, especially juveniles,” said Isaac Cardona. “And I’m like, you act like an adult you get treated like one.”
A recall effort against Gascon was launched earlier this month. DLG’s Samuel Dordulian, Detective Moses Castillo, and Kathy Cady have been featured in the media on numerous occasions recently for their pro bono work with victims of crime and their families, all of whom have been impacted by Gascon’s special directives.
If you have any information related to the car accident that killed Monique Munoz, authorities ask that you call the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Traffic Detectives office at 213-473-0234. If you need to report information during non-business hours or on weekends, please call 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).
Car accident victims throughout California who are injured due to someone else’s negligence or malice turn to Dordulian Law Group to ensure their case is successful and maximum financial damages are recovered. DLG was founded by former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Samuel Dordulian, and we have successfully recovered over $100 million for injured victims of car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, sexual assaults, and much more.
When you bring your car accident case to Dordulian Law Group, you can be confident that we will utilize every available resource on your behalf to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially. DLG’s chief investigator, Moses Castillo, served for nearly three decades as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Much of that time was spent in the LAPD’s elite Central Traffic Division. While a traffic detective, Castillo investigated some of the city’s most high-profile car accidents – hit and runs, rollovers, pedestrian fatalities, etc. Castillo applies his investigative expertise to each car accident claim that Dordulian Law Group handles, ensuring every piece of evidence is uncovered and all the facts are presented when pursuing a maximum damages award.
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