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Investigation into death of 101-year-old photographer to go to prosecutors

Otto Jensen was crossing an intersection without a stoplight when he was struck and killed May 22.

June 08, 2012|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson/Staff…)

Burbank police plan to turn over their investigation of a 91-year-old woman whose car struck and killed a popular photographer last month to prosecutors for review.

The woman, Mary Beaumont, was questioned and released at the scene on May 22 after her car struck 101-year-old Otto Jensen, a longtime Burbank photographer who had done work for Hollywood studios. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Medical Center later that night.

There was no indication that Beaumont was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, “and speed does not appear to be a factor at this point,” police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.

The case will first be submitted for review to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and then possibly the Burbank city attorney’s office, he added.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office this week said that Jensen died of traumatic injuries after he was struck by Beaumont’s sedan just a few feet from his photography studio in a crossing at Olive Avenue and Griffith Park Drive after leaving the Joslyn Adult Center shortly after 8 p.m.

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Since 2011, there have been four accidents involving vehicles at Griffith and Olive, resulting in minor or no injuries, according to police.

In April 2007, a fatal accident occurred at Olive and Beachwood Drive, one block west of the intersection where Jensen died.

Another fatal accident took place at Olive and Parish, west of Griffith, in the mid 1990s, city Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson said. A signal light was installed there in 1999. Prior to that, a flashing light alerted drivers to crossing pedestrians, he said.

A signal light was put in at South Virginia Avenue and Olive, on the eastern side of the Joslyn Center and George Izay Park, to encourage people to cross there, Ryburn said.

The light was installed in the 1950s, according to city officials.

Ryburn said there is nothing that stands out about the intersection where Jensen died, adding that any time there is an intersection, pedestrians can legally cross.

“But it is safer for pedestrians to cross at the signal light,” Ryburn said.

Johnson said before any possible improvements or changes are made at Olive and Griffith, the full police report would be reviewed, which could take several months.

“It seems more people cross at Virginia because the light is there, and we made the light longer to give people, especially the elderly, more time to cross,” he said.

Twitter: @mariahsin

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