PLACENTIA (CBSLA.com) — A 27-year-old motorist was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and murder for allegedly striking and killing a woman and her two daughters in Placentia.
Officers were in the area of the 800 block of West La Jolla Street at around 10:30 p.m. when they heard the sounds of a traffic crash, said Placentia police Sgt. Adam Gloe.
“When they got to the street, the officers saw three people lying unresponsive in the street,” Gloe said. “Paramedics were called to render aid, but all three were declared dead at the scene. The victims consisted of one adult female and two small children.
Neighbors told KCAL9’s Joy Benedict the three victims were a mother and her two daughters. The three victims were walking home from a child’s birthday party in the neighborhood.
The driver remained at the scene, and was not part of a hit-and-run, according to the Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. The victims were not in a crosswalk, Concialdi said.
The driver was later identified as Placentia resident Nicholas Stephen Munoz, 27, who was arrested on suspicion of murder and driving under the influence with injury, said Gloe, adding that a second vehicle also struck Munoz’s vehicle.
Later Sunday, it was reported that Munoz allegedly tried to flee the scene but was held at the location by neighbors.
On Sunday afternoon, CBS2’s Greg Mills spoke to stunned family and friends still trying to make sense of the tragedy.
“I know the girls. They are very lovely girls, very beautiful angels,” said family friend Raja Hammoud.
The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Patricia Ledesma and her daughters, Stephanie, who was 8 and Diana, who was 4.
The girl’s grandfather, Isidro Ayala, spoke in Spanish about losing his granddaughters.
“I’m really sad about my younger granddaughters,” he said.
“It’s really stressful, it’s been terrifying,” said cousin Roxanna Acosta.
“Her aunt was crying hysterically, there was profanity being thrown all over the place, because you can imagine the raw emotions and that’s their loved ones [hit], coming from a party, and you’ve went from a party, to a funeral,” said witness Kenneth Craw.
“The first one that caught my eye, that stuck with me, and I couldn’t sleep was the little girl in the pink dress just laying on her back,” Craw said.
The Placentia Police Traffic Bureau asked anyone with any information regarding the deaths to call them at (714) 993-8157.
Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855)TIP-OCCS.
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