HESPERIA (CBSLA.com) — A woman died early Friday after her car crashed into the California Aqueduct in Hesperia and sank – all while she was on the phone with her mother, trying to get help.
The body of Xanthel Linares, 24, was recovered by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dive team at about 2:30 a.m. Family members who were at the scene identified her, but authorities have not yet confirmed the identification.
Linares had been driving a black 2017 Kia Forte, which witnesses say veered over the white fog line at Main Street and Escondido Avenue, hit a curb, went through a fence and into the Aqueduct. She was on the phone with her mother, Patricia Linares, as her phone sank, according to her sister.
Patricia Linares broke down as she described her daughter’s panic at going into the aqueduct, turning away and allowing another daughter to speak to reporters.
“The last words she was able to say to my mom, before she went under completely, and was no longer able to speak, was ‘I love you,'” Xanthel Linares’ sister said.
Xanthel Linares had survived cancer and kidney transplants in her short life. Patricia Linares said she had rushed to the aqueduct just minutes after the crash, and saw authorities already on the scene but were held back from helping her daughter until dive teams could arrive.
“I [could] see the taillights going in,” Patricia Linares said.
An investigation into the crash continues.
Friday’s scene is not far from where a car carrying 31-year-old Christine Estrada and her three young children flew into the aqueduct in March. In that crash, the woman and two of her children were killed – one of whom was not found until two weeks later.
Both the Linares and Estrada families went to Hesperia City Hall to speak to city officials to demand stronger barriers around the aqueduct and to look into how divers respond to emergencies there.
“Let’s put an end to this. Let’s put an end to this and help another family not go through what we’re going through, and what everybody else has already gone through,” Christine Estrada’s relative said.