FONTANA (CBSLA.com) — From the outside looking in, it looked like a family gathering with good food, friends and people hugging.
But on closer look, there were tears and the hugs were more for support than they were about greeting.
CBS 2’s Greg Mills attended a fundraiser held Saturday to benefit the families affected by a Friday afternoon crash that left a woman’s mother, son, step daughter and a Good Samaritan who came to her aid all dead.
He spoke to friends and family of the victims.
“We were so close. My daughter and her kids, always went to theme parks,” said Jasmin Montoya choking back tears.
She had to tell her 8-year-old daughter Jasmin that her cousins Isaac Briseno and Ailyn Miguel are both gone.
“She took it really hard. They were really close. They spent all summer together,” said Jasmin.
Briseno, 12, and his 12-year-old step sister Miguel were killed along with Isaac’s 58-year-old grandmother, Maria.
The Good Samaritan was identified Saturday as Jose Prieto.
“That’s just like him. He sees a car pulled over, dead in the street, he goes and he helps,” said Prieto’s daughter, Monica.
Maria Briseno’s car was pulled over on a shoulder on the 10 Freeway because the car overheated.
Prieto stopped to help her. Briseno and her mother stepped out of the car.
Police said that is when Luis Sanchez, 64, of Riverside plowed his Nissan Frontier pick up truck into them. They found beer cans in his vehicle and are investigating if he was under the influence at the time of the afternoon crash.
“I see these accidents happen all the time and for it to happen to one of our family? I was just like no. It’s not true,” said cousin Melissa Arroyo.
Mills reported that friends and family made donations for funeral costs — and so did total strangers.
“Breaks my heart and I’m happy to see everyone supporting,” said Jackie Murillo.
“[It happened] on a freeway that I use all the time, it could happen to any of us,” said Donna Monjaraz.
Both families took the opportunity to grieve their losses .
Monica Prieto took it especially hard. She told Mills she and her father hadn’t got along in quite some time.
“It bothers me very much because I didn’t even get to say I love him. I didn’t get to tell him I’m sorry for not being a good daughter,” she said.
For a link to a GoFundMe account established by Monica, click here.
Mills also spoke to Maria Briseno through an interpreter. She told him she saw her mother and two children killed and it’s an image she will never be able to erase.
For a link to a GoFundMe account established for Briseno’s family, click here.
KCAL 9’s Jennifer Kastner reported the fundraiser started around 10 a.m. and by 10 p.m. it was still going strong. It was scheduled to end around 11 p.m.
Organizers estimated about 700 people took part in the fundraiser during the day and evening.
“A lot of people are hurt right now, but I guess it’s nice to see that people are willing to come out and help,” said Ramiro Briseno, uncle of the two kids who were killed.
Said aunt Rocio Ramirez, “It happened so fast. I think we’re still in denial. We don’t think this happened.”
Kastner reported there will be another fundraiser held Sunday in Rialto for the Good Samaritan’s family.
“We’ll pray for him as well,” said Ramiro, “and for his family to give them strength. To ease the pain a little bit. You can’t really get over something like this.”