SOUTH GATE (CBSLA.com) — Officials on Sunday identified two of the dead in a hit-and-run crash in South Gate Saturday.
CBS2;s Laurie Perez said the deceased — three other passengers were critically injured — were a 55-year-old Bell father driving his daughter and her friends to a movie.READ MORE: LA County Not Closing COVID Vaccine Super Sites Despite Drop In Demand
She reported from St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood where friends and family are holding vigil inside.
Easter Mass at Bell”s Santa Maria de Guadalupe Church was punctured with sadness this morning as parishioners celebrated without five of their church family.
Leslye Larios, Angie Ruiz, her sister Karolina, and Jennifer Lopez were together yesterday afternoon, heading to the movies when a silver Mercedes hit the car they were in, driven by Leslye’s dad Lestor.
The crash, on Garfield Avenue near El Paseo in South Gate, killed Mr. Larios and 15-year-old Angie — and put the other three teens in the ICU.
A friend sent Perez a picture of the group, now haunting — she says it was taken minutes before the accident.READ MORE: Martin Luther King Jr. Had Strong Relationship With LA During Civil Rights Movement
“They’re always smiling I know they can do this, they’re really strong,” said Judith Algape.
What they have to do is survive the hit-and-run crash. Police are looking for the suspected driver of the Mercedes that broadsided their car — Bryan Rojas, 22, who police say fled the scene.
Friends say each of the girls had multiple surgeries overnight, 15-year-old Leslye Larios’ brother says his sister has a broken hip and swelling in the brain. He said his mother won’t leave her bedside as he worries, now alone at home without the dad and sister who share his baseball obsession.
“He always had his feud with Mike Scioscia and the TV you know like he never knew why he was there,” said Juan, “she’s an Angels fan, too. She’s like in love with Johnny Giavotella, he plays second base.”
The girls are all part of their church youth group — and tonight their loved ones are leaning on the faith they share to help them survive.
“Yeah, we’ve been praying constantly they were all very strong believers of God and we’re all very united as a family and we all believe that Angie is in Heaven as well as Leslye’s father,” said Reyna Lopez, a friend of the victims.MORE NEWS: Burbank Cancels Outdoor Face Covering Order
Friends of the teens have started a GoFundMe page to pay for medical, hospital and funeral costs.