HESPERIA (CBSLA.com) — Divers will resume their recovery effort for a two-year-old boy in the California Aqueduct Saturday morning after the car he was riding in with his family plunged into the water.
The red Volkswagen Beetle was carrying Noah Abbott, his mother and two brothers when it veered off Main Street, struck a guard rail and ended up in the aqueduct shortly 7 p.m. Thursday.
The boys’ great aunt, Amber Rhodes, tried to hold back tears as she watched divers searched for Noah Friday but failed to find his body. “I don’t even know what to think or do,” she said.
Investigators said they don’t believe the crash was intentional but have not determined the exact cause.
“We don’t know if something happened to her while she was driving, if she had something medical happen,” Rhodes wondered.
The mom, identified as Christina Estrada, 31, and her son, Jeremiah Abbott, 3, were pulled from the water shortly after the incident. Both were killed.
Elijah Abbott, 10, is listed in fair condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
“The left side of his face, he has a gash, and his eye is swollen shut. But he’s going to get through it,” cousin Illiana Garcia said. “He tried to save his brothers, and he couldn’t.”
The boys’ father, Keven Abbott, was home at the time of the crash, relatives said.
He is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and has been a stay-at-home dad. “He got hurt in the military. Came home. Like a lot of other military, hard to find a job,” uncle Felix Garcia said.
“He still has three more kids to feed and clothe and take care of and make sure are healthy and well,” cousin Natalia Garcia said.
Keven’s aunt, Paulette Garcia, is devastated. “It’s just so hard for me to imagine him without his babies. He always had one on this hip and one on this hip. And one in the backpack and pushing the stroller,” Garcia cried. “He’s just devastated. Our whole family is devastated. But I can’t even imagine his world.”
One driver said there have been several deadly accidents in their neighborhood over the last years, and speeding was often a factor.
“Even with our law enforcement out here now. You can see behind us that people continue to speed,” Theresa Antoine told CBS2’s Tina Patel.
Rhodes said she was not sure if the speed limit needs to be reduced, but something needs to be done to imrpove safety around the aqueduct.
“I think if they put some kind of fencing or some kind of barrier, may be it could have been prevented. The car probably wouldn’t have gone into the water,” Rhodes added.