5 Arrested In Halloween Hit-And-Run That Killed 3 Santa Ana Girls [Updated]
Five people have been arrested in connection with the tragic hit-and-run that killed three teenage girls who were trick-or-treating on Halloween in Santa Ana.
The Santa Ana Police Dept. said that they arrested multiple suspects at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, but did not release any names or provide other details, according to NBC Los Angeles. They would not confirm the number of arrests, but Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido said on Sunday night that there were five arrests. The Santa Ana Police Dept. said they will give more details about the arrests at a press conference today at 11 a.m.
"We've done a very strong effort, 24 hours nonstop, in order to find individuals that are associated, and we believe that one of them was the driver," Pulido told NBC Los Angeles. "This is a street where cars can go fast, it's just the nature of the street. So we're going to see what we can do to make it safer."
Police said two 13-year-old twin sisters, Lexia Perez and Lexandra Perez, and their friend 13-year-old Andrea Gonzalez, were struck by a Honda CRV "traveling at a high-rate of speed" at the East Fairhaven and Jacaranda Streets crosswalk around 6:45 p.m. on Friday. It was less than two blocks away from their home. The crash threw the girls over 100 feet. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and a passenger of the Honda CRV drove a few blocks to a Big Lots parking lot, ditched their car, and fled on foot, the L.A. Times reported.
“I’m just glad whoever took the three of them away from us will finally face justice,” Josafat Gonzalez, 21, Andrea’s brother, told the O.C. Register. “I don’t wish them harm, but I would have respected them more if they stayed and tried to help.”
GoFundMe accounts have been set up for donations going towards the victims' funerals. Over $43,000 has been raised for the three girls as of this morning. The Perez sisters' page can be viewed here and Gonzalez's page here.
Update 11:40 a.m.: At a press conference this morning, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said that 31-year-old Jaquinn Ramone Bell was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death, according to City News Service.
Police arrested Bell at a motel in Stanton. There were two adults with him at the motel who were also arrested at the time, but later released. There were also two children there, aged 17 and 14, who were taken into protective custody.
Rojas said that they believe that Bell was in the Honda CRV with the two children when he struck the three trick-o-treaters. Bell doesn't own the car; however, it's owned by someone "associated with Mr. Bell," Rojas said.