Two UCSD Students Killed in Street Race

    Two UCSD students were killed in an apparent street-racing accident in Mira Mesa on Jan. 19, according to the San Diego Police Department.

    The county Medical Examiner’s Office identified the students as Eleanor Roosevelt College senior Leonard Cheng, 22, of Piedmont, Calif., and his passenger, Earl Warren College junior Lauren Louie, 20, of Pinole, Calif.

    Cheng, who was racing his 1997 BMW westbound on Mira Mesa Boulevard at about 11 p.m., lost control of his vehicle near Parkdale Avenue. Police reported that the car hit two trees and rolled over, killing both occupants.

    Witnesses told police that the other car, a black Lexus, drove away.

    Both Roosevelt and Warren Colleges are offering psychological support services for students who knew Cheng and Louie, and are specifically seeking both students’ close friends and roommates to offer “”support and compassion,”” according to statements from Roosevelt Dean of Student Affairs Patricia Goen and Warren Dean of Student Affairs Paul R. DeWine.

    Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety, said that the state has been working to curb illegal street racing, including providing increased funding for law enforcement officials to develop anti-racing educational programs.

    Street racing has gained notoriety in recent years, and participants are typically males between the ages of 16 and 34, Cochran said.

    SDPD Lt. Lawrence McKinney, the director of the department’s anti-racing Drag-Net Unit, said that, overall, street racing has been on the decline locally following increased department efforts to train officers to identify racers.

    “”Penalties are extreme, and violators can have their cars crushed,”” McKinney said. “”Public roadways are not designed for high-speed vehicular traffic.””

    Both students lived off campus. Cheng was a structural engineering major and Louie studied economics.

    Goen described Cheng as a “”bright light”” for his friends.

    “”We truly are so deeply saddened by his passing,”” she said.

    DeWine shared similar sentiments for Louie.

    “”Our thoughts and hearts are with her friends and family at this time,”” he said.

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