HESPERIA (CBSLA) — Could stronger barriers around the California Aqueduct have saved the life of 24-year-old Xanthel Linares?
Her family thinks so. They marched into Tuesday night’s Hesperia City Council meeting wearing shirts with the picture of Xanthel, who died last week when her car crashed into the aqueduct.
“We are here to get some results,” said mother Patty Linares. “I don’t understand how this happened.”
Just six months ago, Carlota Estrada lost her daughter and two grandkids in an accident in nearly the same spot.
“This should have never happened. It should not have happened, that’s just the bottom line,” said Estrada. “The city or state or whoever it is supposed to take care of that, they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. And how many more lives like her daughter and mine are going to be lost?”
That’s what Kim Isom wants to know. She says her daughter Tahnee died in a similar crash seven years ago.
“I was told by San Bernardino County that these kind of accidents don’t happen,” said Isom. “And I’ve had to watch and re-live this nightmare over and over again.”
The families of the victims want to see changes, but city officials say it’s not that easy.
“The state does have right of way there, so we are not able to do whatever we want in that location. They have to have access to the site, so that limits what we’re able to do,” said Rachel Molina, Hesperia public information officer.
The families say the city does have the power to add lighting or reflectors and to help them plead their case to officials in Sacramento. They say they’re not going to stop pushing.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I know things don’t get done overnight. But whatever it takes,” said Linares.
The Linares family also says they are going to push to have more rescue divers based in the High Desert. They think Xanthel could have been saved from the water if their response time had been quicker.