Hit-and-run crash suspect still at large

EL MONTE – One of the two street racers charged with the deaths of a mother and her two young children as a result of a seven-car crash was still at large Thursday.

Witnesses say that El Monte resident Martin Morones, 21, fled the scene of a fiery collision on Parkway Drive Monday after attempting to hide his car, Lieutenant Ken Alva of the El Monte Police Department stated. Witnesses reported that Morones had crashed into a parked car before he and a friend attempted to roll his Honda Accord away from view.

The other racer, Robert Canizalez, 19, also of El Monte, who has no prior criminal record, was arraigned in court Thursday along with Morones, who is still at large. Both were charged with three counts of murder and one felony hit-and-run charge, the Pasadena Star News reported Thursday.

Canizalez, who was driving a Ford Mustang, is suspected of colliding with the Nissan Altima of Dora Groce, 41, while he was driving at an excessive speed. The Altima burst into flames shortly after impact. Groce and her two children, Robert, 8, and Catherine, 4, were killed. Investigators have not yet determined if the victims died on impact or as a result of the fire, Lt. Alva said.

The crash occurred around 5:45 p.m. while Canizalez and Morones were street racing. Although the investigation is ongoing, Lt. Alva said there in no evidence to suggest that the two had a history of racing.

Three passengers of a Ford F-150, also hit in the crash, were treated for minor injuries at the scene of the collision.

Morones was arrested Sept. 11 by the L.A. County Sherriff’s Department on a concealed weapons charge, the Pasadena Star News reported Thursday. He was scheduled to appear at Rio Hondo Municipal Court on Oct. 3.

Morones is a 5-foot 6-inch, 180-pound Hispanic with brown eyes and brown hair. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should contact the El Monte Police Department at (626) 580-2110.

–Emily Sanderson, Crime News Reporter, United Reporting


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