SANTA MONICA—The arrest of a Santa Monica man ended a nearly year-long search for the suspect in a hit-and-run that killed a 61-year-old woman in the city last March.
On January 22, SMPD detectives arrested 33-year-old Eugene Cohen, a resident and local entrepreneur, who reportedly ran a pet grooming center named PuppyLuv, which offered pet boarding, pet sitting, and pet training. PuppyLuv was located on Pico Boulevard near the Westside Pavilion mall in West Los Angeles, but closed a few weeks following the accident.
Cohen wrote in a post on Yelp, “Puppy Luv has CLOSED its doors. We are bummed and will miss all the dogs we had come to know and love. Please email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org We will be fielding refund requests.”
Detective Jason Olson of the Santa Monica Police Department told Canyon News, “Cohen is being charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated [Code 191.5(a)], vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence [code 191.5(b)], gross vehicular manslaughter [code 192(c)(1)], misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter [code 192(c)(2)], and vehicle code felony hit and involving death or injury [code 20001 VC].”
The victim killed was identified as Kathryn Claire Theis of Madison, Wisconsin. She was reportedly in Santa Monica at the time visiting her daughter, Eleanor “Nora” Nett.
Detective Olson explained that at around 1:00 a.m. on March 22, 2014, the two crossed the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue just south of the Santa Monica Pier, when a “grey metallic coupe” struck them both, injuring 32-year-old Nora and killing her mother. The two did not use the crosswalk.
The incident prompted the community to be on the lookout for the car, which Detective Olson explained, was ultimately dismantled in a Van Nuys chop shop. Detective Olson mentioned that witnesses pointed his investigation team to the chop shop. When asked if he plans on bringing charges against the chop shop involved in the crime, he explained, “There are no charges currently being brought against the chop shop until the investigation is completed.”
The description of the vehicle was derived from what was described as “grainy photos” and surveillance footage from a nearby camera, which captured the vehicle speeding toward Venice Boulevard following the hit-and-run.
The investigation for the suspect went cold until a member of the public tipped off police that the Infiniti G35 could belong to the owner of Puppy Luv, 10931 W. Pico Blvd., which closed weeks after the accident.