WEST COVINA (CBSLA) — The suspect carjacked a vehicle. But when he crashed it into another vehicle during a pursuit, he ended up destroying a lot more than property.
Authorities said that fleeing suspect killed two people.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to members of the victims’ devastated family.
The two deceased — a loving, devoted couple in their 50s who’d been friends since middle school. A third person — her 13-year-old son from a previous marriage was left in very serious condition.
The carjacking suspect was also hospitalized.
Just watch a few seconds of 52-year Gracie Contreras singing – and you’ll quickly understand why everyone who loved her says she was life of the party.
Her infectious personality was remembered during a vigil at the corner of Glendora and East Cameron Avenues in West Covina Sunday.
It was there that police say the pursuit suspect crashed into Contreras’ car killing her and husband Eddie.
“I’m going to miss her man. It hurts,” said her brother Octavio Medina.
He says his older sister worked as a school bus driver.
He’s not entirely sure what caused the accident but he knows it wasn’t his sister.
“We just don’t know if there was lights or sirens. We just don’t know because she obeys the law. She was well-trained so it brings up questions,” Medina says.
The family firmly believes the suspect is to blame for all of it.
They are in immense pain — and it’s also being shared by Pearl Shepard who worked with Gracie for years as a fellow school bus driver.
“When she wasn’t there and she’d be absent at work, I’d miss her presence. If you were having a bad day, you’d just be near her, and you could just rub on her happiness,” Shepard says.
The family is also focused on Gracie’s son from a previous marriage. The teen was severely injured in the crash. Relatives say the injuries have affected the condition of his heart.
“He’s going to need some really heavy surgeries to get him back together, to give him the strength to some back around,” says Medina.
A GoFundMe was set up to help pay funeral expenses for Gracie and Edward. Click here for more.