Friends and family are mourning a brother and sister who were killed when a box truck driver who police say was on drugs plowed into them in Winchester.
The crash happened Wednesday morning when California Highway Patrol investigators say the box truck slammed into several cars that were stopped at a red light in the eastbound lanes of Domenigoni Parkway. The violent impact sent a white BMW more than 100 feet into a ditch, killing 32-year-old Paloma Casares and her 25-year-old brother, Israel Bermudez.
“It’s the worst thing that could happen to us,” said Tatiana Steele, the victims’ sister.
Steele said her younger brother was the rock in the family who could always bring a smile to people’s face. Growing up, she said, “there were hard times,” but he made things easier.
Casares, Steele said, was a wonderful mother to her 8-year-old daughter.
“She’s taking it as rough, as any kids would. We’re just going to try really hard as a family to be strong for her and make sure she feels like she is not alone,” Steele said.
The box truck driver was identified as 39-year-old Delwyn Randle, of Westminster. He faces two counts of felony DUI causing death, and his bail has been set at $100,000.
It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
“Being as old as I am, why the younger ones go instead of the older ones?” said Bernard Hernandez, the victims’ grandfather. “I’m so upset about it. I’m going back and forth in my head. How? When? Why?”
An online fundraiser has been set up to raise money for funeral expenses as well as for Casares’ daughter.
At Hustlers Barbershop in San Jacinto, where Casares was a popular hairstylist, a memorial has been created at her chair. On Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the shop is holding a taco fundraiser for the family.
“Seeing her impact, it’s overwhelming. A lot of people have a lot of love for her and it shows,” Steele said. Steele also has a strong message for anyone who thinks about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: “I don’t know why you would get behind the wheel like that. It’s not worth it.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles