VENTURA (CBSLA.com) — An 18-year-old man reportedly ran over and killed an innocent mother of seven Wednesday during a dispute with his girlfriend.
Police received a call just before 11 a.m. about a domestic dispute between Erik Lopez and his 19-year-old girlfriend in the 1200 block of Halifax Court in Ventura.
Investigators said the victim went to her neighbor, 65-year-old Dena Owens, across the street for help.
At some point, Lopez left the area in his car.
While Owens was on the phone with police in her front yard, Lopez reportedly drove back and reversed the vehicle into her.
Owens was pinned underneath the car. She died at the scene.
Lopez, who was on probation for domestic violence, was immediately arrested. He was later booked at the Ventura County Jail for gross vehicular manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal battery and child endangerment.
“It is possible that it was a criminal act on his part because she was on the phone with police and had been observing the domestic dispute, but at this point we’re investigating whether it was purely an accident or a purposeful event,” said Cmdr. Darin Schindler of the Ventura Police Department.
Family members and neighbors described Owens as a compassionate Christian, mother to seven and a grandmother to five, who adopted four children between the ages of 8 and 13.
“Took in almost a whole family and she’s in her mid-60s. To have this happen is so devastating. So uncalled for,” said Jennie Cooksey.
Anyone with information about the crime was asked to contact the Ventura Police Department’s Investigation Division at (805) 339-4441.