A Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty today to a murder charge stemming from the death of a 60-year-old Long Beach woman who was killed when he allegedly drove into a group of pedestrians.
Khalid Yagobbi was originally charged with a felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence involving the death of Romelia Cuarenta-Aguilar. But prosecutors filed an amended complaint last week charging him with the more serious count of murder stemming from the Oct. 14 crash in Long Beach.
The murder charge includes an allegation that Yagobbi personally used a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon. The amended complaint also charged Yagobbi with four felony counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon involving four other people.
Yagobbi is due back in court Dec. 5, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial on the charges.
Yagobbi was released on bond Oct. 19 after his bail was set at $50,000, but he was taken into custody again last week in lieu of $6 million bail as a result of the new charges. He has remained behind bars since then, jail records show.
Police said Yagobbi was speeding in a white Chevrolet Bolt on Shoreline Drive when he drove through a red light and struck the pedestrians and multiple, occupied vehicles without slowing down just after 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14.
Yaggobi remained at the scene and was taken to a hospital for treatment before being booked on suspicion of murder, authorities said.
Cuarenta-Aguilar was pronounced dead at the scene.
During an earlier court hearing, a prosecutor said Yagobbi was an Uber driver and had a passenger in his car when the crash occurred.
Witnesses said the car struck Cuarenta-Aguilar as she pushed a child in a stroller in the crosswalk, and then slammed into multiple vehicles in the opposite lane.
Several other pedestrians were injured and hospitalized.
“At this time, there is no indication that this incident was an act of terror nor associated with the current violence in Israel; however, the investigation is ongoing,” the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement shortly after the crash.
In a subsequent post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Long Beach police said “While motive remains under investigation, at this time, there is no indication the incident is connected to terrorism nor the current violence in the Middle East.”