LOS ANGELES — A street racer and car tuner whose fame stretched from online videos to a cable TV show has been charged with two counts of murder after a crash stemming from an illicit Los Angeles race.
Israel “Izzy” Valenzuela, 38, also was charged Thursday with engaging in a street race that caused a concussion. Another alleged promoter of the race, 21-year-old Henry Gevorgyan was charged with the same counts on Tuesday. Both men remain jailed on bail of more than $2 million apiece.
Two men were killed and a third was seriously injured during a Feb. 26 race in Chatsworth, Calif., when a souped-up Mustang went out of control and slammed into a crowd on the sidewalk while racing a Nissan GT-R.
Neither Valenzuela or Gevorgyan were behind the wheel at the time of the crash; prosecutors say both face the charges for organizing and promoting the event, which could make them liable for deaths under California’s tough laws against street racing. Were either to be convicted, they would face penalties of 33 years to life in prison.
Valenzuela appeared on Discovery’s “Street Outlaws” show, and he and his vehicles are well-known in the street racing underground. His shop, Izzy Performance, has built several high-profile models, including the GT-R and a twin-turbo Chevy pickup.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)