WESTMINSTER (CBSLA.com) — A grief-stricken father on Friday tried to cope with the death of his 12-year-old daughter last night.
Vivian Nguyen was killed — and her mother and brother critically injured — when a police pursuit suspect slammed into their van in Westminster around 6 p.m.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to Tom Nguyen about his terrible loss.
Reporter Nguyen said that Vivian’s classmates came by to visit a makeshift memorial in her honor.
The girl’s father remembered his daughter as a bright light who loved to paint.
He clutched a picture of his daughter tightly while sobbing.
Nguyen was at work when he got the call about his wife, Helen, and two children. (Vivian also had a 13-year-old brother, William.)
A doctor told Nguyen that his daughter died right away. “[The suspect] hit her so bad, and her heart stopped beating.”
Charlie Lee, a witness to the crash, told KCAL9 that the suspect was going “90-100 miles an hour” down the residential street. “He just slammed into them and flipped over.”
The witness added that police should know kids play on these streets.
“To be honest,” Lee said, “I think they should have backed off.”
The chase lasted only a few minutes. The Nguyen family was also less than a half a mile from their home when the suspect, now identified as Aleksandar Apostoloic, 26, allegedly slammed into them.
Thomas’ wife and son remain in critical condition at UCI Medical Center. The grieving father told Nguyen that he hasn’t yet told them about Vivian’s death because of their fragile conditions.
“Last night till now, she ask me many times, even my son say ‘Where is Vivian? I didn’t see her, I didn’t see her.’ I miss her,” he said.
Mrs. Nguyen suffered cuts to her face, William has at least five broken ribs.
Police charged Apostoloic with murder because of Vivian’s death.
KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper spoke to family and friends who left flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial for Vivian.