On Monday morning, March 6, 2023, a memorial sign was unveiled in West Los Angeles in remembrance of Monique Muñoz, the 32-year-old woman that was hit and killed in 2021 by a 17-year-old who was speeding past 100 mph in a Lamborghini gifted to him by his father.
The sign was unveiled at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Overland Avenue, where the tragedy occurred just two years ago. The blue road sign reads in white letters:
“WATCH YOUR SPEED, In Memory of Monique Muñoz.”
The Muñoz family fought for justice for their daughter, and as of last year, the family reached an $18.85 million settlement in their lawsuit against the 17-year-old’s parents.
The teen involved in the tragic death of Muñoz was ordered in 2021 to serve seven to nine months in a juvenile camp after admitting a Juvenile Court petition charging him with vehicular manslaughter. The speeding incident that caused Muñoz's death was not the first time the teen had been stopped by authorities for speeding and driving without someone 25 and over accompanying him, as recommended for learning permit holders.
Below is Janette Villafana's 2021 story on the tragedy, previously published on L.A. TACO:
[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ver the weekend, West Los Angeles’s community rolled out on foot and in classic cars to honor and demand justice for Monique Muñoz, the 32-year-old woman killed in a traffic accident a month ago today.
According to police, on the evening of Feb.17, Monique Muñoz from Hawthorne was on her way home from work when at approximately 5:10 p.m., a speeding Lamborghinicollided with her Lexus at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Overland Avenue. Muñoz was about to make a left turn when she was t-boned. The driver behind the black Lamborghini was the 17-year-old son of multimillionaire James Khuri from Beverly Hills.
According to a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department, the unlicensed 17-year-old was bookedon Feb. 23rd, 2021, for “192(C)(1) PC, Vehicular Manslaughter,” but he is yet to be charged. And until he is, Muñoz’s family and friends said they would continue to demand justice for the woman they all described as a person with a big heart.
“She really did have a heart of gold. She did not deserve this; no one does,” said her brother Phillip Muñoz.
On Saturday, cars cruised by and honked their horns, supporting family and friends who were holding signs with Muñoz picture on it. In some instances, several cars stopped to pay their respects to the family, handing flowers to Muñoz's brother to place on a shrine the community created.
Muñoz’s mother, Carol Cardona, said her daughter had much life left to live and had plans and goals that included pursuing her Bachelor's degree. She had just started a job as a receptionist at the UCLA clinic and had big dreams that included becoming a mom, a wife and buying her first home one day.
She had just started a job as a receptionist at the UCLA clinic and had big dreams that included becoming a mom, a wife and buying her first home one day.
“Her future was bright,” Cardona said. “She would always go that extra mile with anything she did, and she would bend over backward for people, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do for her.”
Since the accident, Cardona said neither law enforcement or Khuri have reached out to her or her family. She said if it weren’t for “the news media,” she wouldn't have known the 17-year-old was booked or that the father, Khuri, had issued astatement online. A statement and apology that she was not impressed with.
“I’ve seen the interview of the father trying to apologize and give me his sympathy, but no, that's too fake,” she added. “He has yet to say anything to me, to us. If he were really sorry, he would have reached out when it all happened.”
When the accident first happened, Khuri was accused of trying to hide his son’s actions online. Mitu described it as “a move that people think is a result of an expensive internet marketing campaign.” Folks online noticed that when Googling Khuri, little to no news reports or information about the crash would pop up, causing some to wonder if Khuri was behind this.
Family and friends worry that because of Khuris’s financial status, he will get away with what his son did to Muñoz.
“My daughter was killed, she was my everything, she was my best friend, and now she’s gone. Instead of planning her future wedding, I had to plan a funeral for her...”
Rick Silva, a friend of the Muñoz family who was at Saturday's protest with his children Gabriel and Bianca, said he is heartbroken for the family. He can't imagine being in their shoes, having to bury a daughter.
“I’ve seen my friend and his wife go through true pain, and all they want is justice,” Silva said. “The unfortunate thing about this is that when you have that kind of money, you can buy yourself out of these situations, and that's not fair.”Some who have looked into Khuris’ history have brought up how he has “gotten away” with certain past situations. Bringing up an incident in 2019, he was accused of the battery and assault of his former partner. Supporters and friends of the family worry that this tragedy will end with the same result and that it will be dismissed, and as Cardona said, “Swept under the rug.”
Nevertheless, Cardona said her family is resilient and focused on the criminal case, getting justice for her daughter, and continuing to celebrate and honor Muñoz, who would have turned 33 in May. Adding that she hopes District Attorney George Gascón will do what’s right and take action on the case.
Cardona also denies any reports that have been made stating that her family and the Khuri family have come to any type of financial settlement or agreement.
“My daughter was killed, she was my everything, she was my best friend, and now she’s gone. Instead of planning her future wedding, I had to plan a funeral for her,” she said. “So no, no amount of money is going to bring my baby back.”
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