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Police: Racers who killed pedestrian reached 70 mph

Two men were driving more than 70 mph during a suspected race on a public street in East San Jose where they crashed into a barrier and one struck and killed a female pedestrian on Monday, police said today.

The crash, reported shortly after noon Monday on Yerba Buena Road at Edenview Drive, ended when of the cars slammed the pedestrian, 24-year-old Kiran Pabla, against a tree where she suffered fatal injuries, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.

The drivers, Gabriel Esparza, 18, and Manuel Maldonado, 24, were arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving causing great bodily injury, Randol said. According to online jail records, both men are being held at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on $100,000 bail, with Maldonado set to appear in Superior Court on Wednesday and Esparza on Feb. 9.

Based on an investigation, the Police Department’s traffic investigations unit reported that Esparza and Maldonado were traveling in excess of 70 mph on Yerba Buena, possibly while racing each other, police said.

They lost control of their vehicles, collided with a guardrail, went onto the sidewalk and one of the cars crashed into Pabla, who was walking or jogging there at the time, and pinned her against the tree where she died at the scene, according to Randol.

Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call police officers at the traffic investigations unit at (408) 277-5382 or leave an anonymous message at the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers tip line at (408) 947-7867.

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