Arrests made in California Halloween hit-and-run that killed 3 trick-or-treaters
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police say they’ve arrested several people in connection with the Halloween hit-and-run deaths of three teenage girls who were trick-or-treating in a Los Angeles suburb.
Santa Ana police say officers made multiple arrests as of Sunday morning.
Police declined to provide additional details ahead of a news conference scheduled for Monday.
Authorities say 13-year-old twin sisters and a 13-year-old friend were struck and killed Friday night in a Santa Ana crosswalk. A damaged black Honda SUV was found a short distance from where the collision occurred.
A witness told the Los Angeles Times the girls were wearing costumes with black leggings and dark clothing when they were hit in a crosswalk near an elementary school about 6:45 p.m. Friday.
Two of them were declared dead immediately, and a third died as paramedics prepared to take her to a hospital, Orange County fire Capt. Steve Concialdi said. The twin sisters were Lexi and Lexandra Perez, and the third victim was Andrea Gonzalez, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
The front of the vehicle was heavily damaged, Santa Ana police spokesman Anthony Bertagna said. Authorities are seeking video-surveillance footage from nearby property owners while interviewing witnesses. Investigators also collected evidence from the SUV, including fingerprints and DNA samples, he said.
“It was Halloween. There were a lot of people out there,” Bertagna said. “These guys fled this car. Did they call somebody to pick them up? Did they live in the neighborhood? Did they run into a house?”
Sharon Stewart, who cuts hair at a nearby barber shop, told the Times that she was eating outside when she heard what sounded “like a terrible crash. A couple of thumps. Then I heard screaming. I turned, and I saw a car leaving and people yelling. So I thought, ‘It’s a hit-and-run.’ ”
The vehicle passed her, so she got in her car and followed, she said. Stewart saw a young man run from the scene and heard him yelling at what she thought was his companion.
“I only saw one guy, but I know there was somebody else,” she said.
Maria Ramirez, 14, who lives about a half block from where the hit-and-run occurred, told the Orange County Register that she attended middle school with the twins. She last saw them at school Friday, she said.
“I can’t believe it happened,” Ramirez said of the deaths of her friends, while she gathered late Friday night on the sidewalk with dozens of onlookers. “They were fun, good girls.”
Other crashes killed or injured trick-or-treaters around the country:
- In the nearby city of Irvine, police said a man was struck and killed while trick-or-treating with his 4-year-old son. The Register reports the child suffered significant injuries and remained in critical condition Saturday. The driver cooperated with investigators.
- In New York state, a 3-year-old boy was killed and a 16-year-old girl was seriously injured when they were hit by a car as they crossing a two-lane road in Greece, police said. The driver is cooperating and has not been charged.
- A 2-year-old in Florida trick-or-treating with a group died when he was hit by a bus. He was in a stroller with two other children when the adult pushing them across a street realized he had dropped his cellphone. The man stopped the stroller in the median and told the children to stay while he retrieved the phone. The child got out of the stroller and was hit by a driver who did not see him in the street, authorities said.
- Authorities in Washington state said two 7-year-old girls and a 20-year-old woman sustained life-threatening injuries when they were hit by a car while trick-or-treating in Vancouver. The Columbian reported that police said a car jumped a curb and hit the trio.