Coroners remove a body as police officers continue the investigation at the scene where two women died in a taxi cab crash in the eastern Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights early Tuesday, April 8, 2008. The crash occurred after a violent series of incidents that involved one of them allegedly attacking the cab's driver with a blade, police said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Two teenage girls who were part of a botched robbery attempt died when the taxi they were riding in crashed after one teen slashed the cab driver's face during a high-speed chase, police said.
The driver, Javier Hernandez, 40, was taken to a hospital and released after receiving treatment for minor injuries, including cuts to his neck and face, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Lee Sands said.
Two 17-year-old girls flagged down the cab early Tuesday and asked to be taken to a nearby housing project, police said.
When they pulled up, one girl said her boyfriend would come down to pay their fare. Instead, a man shoved a handgun through the taxi's window and grabbed a GPS system off the dashboard, Officer Jason Lee said. Hernandez sped away and dialed 911 after he saw a car chasing him, Lee said.
"The cab driver got scared," Officer April Harding said. "One of the females pulled out a box cutter and began cutting the taxi cab driver, and that's what caused him to crash."
Police responding to the 911 call arrived at the scene as the other car reached the crash site, Lee said. Three occupants who got out of the car to look for the girls and the driver were detained for questioning, he said.
Hector Jasso and Daniel Martinez, both 20, were arrested Tuesday evening for investigation of murdering the teens because their deaths occurred during the commission of a crime, Lee said. Both were being held without bail. It was not immediately known whether Jasso and Martinez had lawyers.
Lee said Jasso was the robbery suspect and boyfriend of one of the girls, whom coroner's officials identified as Alexous Ann Sandoval and Daisy Orozco.
The third occupant of the car was released.
(This version CORRECTS driver's age to 40, per new information from police.)