LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – A 30-year-old man was killed and a woman and boy – all family members — were injured after a suspected drunk driver drove up onto a Long Beach sidewalk and struck them while they were out walking on Halloween night.
The family was walking south along Country Club Drive, near Los Cerritos Park, just before 10 p.m. Thursday when a 2002 Toyota Sequoia lost control and went up onto the sidewalk, hitting all three of them.
“I saw a little boy, Omar, wearing his little snake costume,” Roman Bojorquez, a neighbor, said. “He was so excited about having the opportunity to go out, and he wanted everybody to see his little trick-or-treat bag and was excited about getting some candy.”
Joseph Awaida died from his injuries. His wife, Raihan, and 3-year-old son, Omar, were critically injured and were said to be in the intensive care unit at an area hospital.
Family members said Raihan suffered severe spinal injuries and broken bones while Omar suffered severe internal injuries, losing his spleen. The family also said Omar went so long without oxygen that doctors are concerned about his brain function.
Twenty-year-old Carlo Navarro has been arrested on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to a Long Beach police report. Navarro was not injured.
Witness Sheila Petry was there when it happened.
“I just bent down and checked her pulse and I couldn’t anything,” Petry said.
They were all rushed to local hospitals, where the man died. The woman and the child were critically injured. Their names and their exact relationship to one another was not immediately released.
Police said the driver, Navarro, remained on scene and cooperated with investigators. According to police, Navarro was traveling south on Country Club Drive, failed to make a turn onto Los Cerritos Park Place and went onto the sidewalk.
Navarro is being held on $100,000 bail.
Family friends set up a GoFundMe page for the Awaida family. By Friday night, nearly $60,000 had been raised.