SOUTH LA (CBSLA.com) — When 41-year-old Ruth Noemi Duarte was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Saturday night, it marked the second devastating tragedy to befall her five children in a year’s time.
In 2014, Duarte’s husband died of a heart attack. After Duarte was killed over the weekend, loved ones had the obligation of telling her young children that they no longer have a parent.
“It hurts to see my family going through something like that, and for animosity to be built up towards someone I don’t even know,” niece Karen Quintero said. “She was just a very loving woman, and very peaceful.”
Duarte had just bought tacos from a truck, according to the truck’s employees, and was said to be singing as she crossed mid-block on Florence Ave. near La Salle.
Witnesses then say an SUV slammed on its brakes in an attempt to avoid hitting her.
The impact of the SUV knocked Duarte to the ground, but she managed to get back up.
That’s when witnesses said a second SUV then struck her, fatally, and never stopped.
Police are reviewing security video, hoping it will lead to identifying the driver of that SUV.
Duarte’s family says that, while she at times struggled with addiction and homelessness, she was a joyful and loving person, and that she was writing a book at the time of her death.