Suspect in car chase that led to death of Long Beach man and dog pleads not guilty

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A Northern California man who was allegedly being chased by police when he struck and killed a pedestrian and his dog in Long Beach pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.

Jyvante West, 26, of Richmond, was charged May 28 with one count each of murder, animal cruelty, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle causing death, second-degree burglary and sale/transport of marijuana, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The murder charge stems from the death of Jose Hernandez, 32, of Long Beach, who was legally crossing Sixth Street at Magnolia Avenue with his dog when he was struck May 26 by a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE allegedly driven through a red light at a high rate of speed by West, police said.

Hernandez and his dog were both pronounced dead at the scene.

The mid-size luxury SUV subsequently collided with a fence in the area of Sixth Street and Pine Avenue, where West was taken into custody, police said.

The pursuit began after officers went to a business in the 2100 block of Gaylord Street following a call that people were cutting down marijuana plants inside the licensed cannabis-related business, and spotted the Mercedes-Benz fleeing from the scene, police said.

The chase lasted about five minutes on streets, state Route 103 and the Long Beach (710) Freeway, according to police.

West has remained jailed since his arrest late that night. He is due back in a Long Beach courtroom Aug. 7.

A half-dozen other Northern California residents were arrested on suspicion of burglary and subsequently released on bond, according to jail records.