A star of the controversial reality show Street Outlaws faces two murder counts after his arrest Thursday in connection with an illegal street race that killed two people in Chatsworth, California, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles.
Israel Valenzuela, also known as “Izzy Performance,” was not driving the vehicle that spun out of control at the start of an illegal drag race on February 26, but under California’s strict laws banning street racing, he could be held criminally liable for the deaths of Eric Siguenza, 26, and Wilson Thomas Wong, 50, who were struck by the vehicle as it spun onto the sidewalk at speeds witnesses reported as exceeding 55 miles per hour.
A third man was injured in the street race gone wrong, and Valenzuela, 38, also faces a charge of, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, “engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway causing a concussion.”
Police say that they believe Valenzuela and another man also charged, 21-year-old Henry Michael Gevorgyan, “allegedly helped promote and organize an illegal street race” that resulted in the tragic accident.
It was not clear from the D.A. or police statements whether Valenzuela and Gevorgyan were actually driving the cars that engaged in the illegal race in the early morning hours of February 26. A report from a local ABC News affiliate named Gevorgyan as the driver of the car that lost control, and said that he fled the scene after the fatal mishap.
Video of that ABC 7 News report may be viewed above, but be warned, it contains footage of the accident that may prove disturbing.
Bail for Valenzuela has been set at $2 million, and if convicted, the former reality star could face up to 33 years in prison. Gevorgyan’s bail was set at the same amount, and he also faces the prospect of 33 years behind bars for his participation in the fatal street race.
The Discovery Channel show Street Outlaws has been called “the worst idea for a show ever,” by the automotive blog Jalopnik, and the National Hot Rod Association has sent letters to several participants in the reality show warning that their licenses to take part in sanctioned NHRA events could be suspended due to their participation in the reality show.
Former Street Outlaws driver Valenzuela was scheduled to arraigned on the murder charges Thursday.
[Image: YouTube Screen Grab]