BUENA PARK (CBSLA.com) — The woman killed when a SUV crashed into a crowd outside a Buena Park ice cream shop Friday has been identified as investigators continue to look into the possibility the elderly driver hit the wrong foot pedal.
Marisa Malin, 73, of Cerritos, was taken to a local hospital after being struck by the vehicle outside of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, located in the 8600 block of Beach Boulevard, shortly after 6 p.m.
Malin is the mother-in-law of Artesia Councilman and Mayor pro tem Victor Manalo.
City News Service reports Malin was pronounced dead 33 minutes after the collision – just nine days after her last birthday.
Six others, including two of Malin’s grandchildren, suffered minor to moderate injuries.
Police say the 81-year-old driver has not been arrested.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported Friday that the driver was being questioned.
“Witnesses have only indicated that he accelerated forward instead of backing out,” Buena Park police Officer Bill Kohanek said.
Police also indicated the driver appeared to be disoriented.
“He walked around like he was in a daze, like he didn’t even know what happened,” witness Daniel Long said.
Long recalled seeing the vehicle suddenly speed toward bystanders.
“My son said, ‘Look, look!’ And we turned around and we saw that gray car kept going. It looked like the guy kept his foot on the gas pedal instead of the brake. He crushed… there was three people sitting on the bench. It went straight into them and crushed them,” he said.
The driver’s name had not been released at press time.
Reporting from outside Farrell’s on Saturday afternoon, CBS2’s Art Barron said a large series of orange K-rails were placed outside the store.
The rails were set up as more of a protective barrier between the parking lot and the front of the store. Farrell’s was open for business Saturday.
“And the car immediately accelerated, went forward and hit the fence, people in front of the fence, behind the fence,” said Michael Fleming, Farrell’s CEO.
Fleming said they put up the K-rails because the fence that was there was completely destroyed.
“It was a reinforced fence,” Fleming said, “it was an iron fence. And the car was still able to take it down.”
He told Barron that he is considering a more permanent solution — steel poles that would sit between the parking lot and the storefront.
Barron also spoke to some of Malin’s neighbors who said she was sweet and kind.
“We’ve always been real close, we’ve looked out for each other’s property,” said Roger Pavon. “She was just an outstanding person.”
He also noted that Malin loved spending time with her grandchildren and was active in the church.
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