EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA) – A man who had just dropped his children off at school is accused of a hit-and-run that left a 77-year-old woman dead less than 10 days before Thanksgiving.
A community is reeling from the death of Maria Reynoso, who was killed on her way to church near Budlong Avenue at 28th Street in Exposition Park on Nov. 13.
“She was a good woman, she was a great mother, she was a great grandmother, she was an excellent great-grandmother,” Reynoso’s granddaughter, Julia Stranges, said Tuesday at the site of the collision.
Reynoso was the matriarch of the family – the mother of nine children, 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Witnesses said the suspect, 25-year-old Brandon Rosendo Mazariego, knew he had hit Reynoso but didn’t stop.
“At the point where he saw her laying there, he didn’t render aid and he was a coward, and he left her to die.
Mazariego has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. Detectives said he was going about 10 miles per hour when he hit Reynoso, who had just stepped off the curb to cross the street.
The suspect was previously charged with burglary, was on probation and was driving on a suspended license.
Police released a short clip of the video and stills images, which they say shows the suspect fleeing the scene.
Reynoso is said to have lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years and had a daily routine: head to a local Catholic church nearby and attend mass.
“That was what she did every day. She was a woman of faith,” Stranges said.
Both the video of the incident and witnesses led Los Angeles police to Mazariego so quickly – just two days after the hit-and-run.
Mazariego, officials said, was on his way home from taking his kids to school when he struck Reynoso.
“For us, she’s a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous loss. Our lives, our family will never be the same,” Stranges said.
The family said instead of having their usually large Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate and count their blessings, they will have to prepare for a funeral.