HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A few weeks ago, Gabriela Futsi’s friends gathered to celebrate her 70th birthday.
Her daughter, Isabelle Futsi, told CBS2’s Tina Patel that despite some health issues, her mom had good reason to cheer and to look forward.
Now, the same friends are looking back at Futsi’s life, cut short by a hit-and-run driver Saturday
“She was in recent months really independent and high functioning and the happiest I’d seen her in a long time,” said Isabelle.
Gabriela was able to walk around her Hollywood neighborhood more. Isabelle said that is precisely what she was doing last night, walking home from dinner, when she was struck.
Police say a white truck hit her in the crosswalk on Fountain Avenue and then drove off.
“She had her walker with her, and it flew and hit a car and damaged a car window,” Isabelle said.
A Good Samaritan called 911 and paramedics rushed Gabriela to the hospital.
She died while undergoing surgery Sunday morning.
“They said she fought really hard for her life, until the end. They said she was a fighter, but there was too much blood,” Isabelle said.
She is furious that the person who did this to her Romanian-born mother just drove off leaving her mother in the street. A woman who overcame so much in her life.
“She came from communism. She came here with me when I was 2-years-old. Not knowing the language, she was just an incredible woman. She faced a lot of adversity,” Isabelle said. “She deserves better than to go out this way.”
Isabelle said she’s going to be at the location where her mom was hit — with her friends Sunday evening. She will also light candles in honor of her mom.
She said she will also be hanging up signs asking anyone with information — but especially the driver — to please come forward.
“Regardless of whether you are scared or under the influence, jjust do the right thing. Be a moral human being. Please,” Isabelle pleaded.
Isabelle spoke to KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen Sunday night at that vigil and tried to describe her heartbreak and put it into words.
“I feel like I’m dead, too,” she said.
She leaned on friends at the vigil as best she could — the only family she has was taken away from her last night.
Her mom battled Parkinson’s and said she had diminished all her symptoms.
“Any time an innocent person is killed and there’s no justice for them, that makes me angry,” said Futsi friend Sharon Goldhammer.
The family has set up a GoFundMe link. For more information, click here.