Apr 22, 2014
A police officer noticed a mini-van inside the building around 4am on Sunday in Palmdale, Los Angeles, CBS reports.
“The vehicle was embedded into the building and went into the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl who has passed away as a result of injuries from the accident as far as we can tell,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Ken Wright said.
The teen was identified as Giselle Mendoza, whose family were struggling to understand how she was taken from them.
“She was my little sister. I just hope people who drink and drive … I mean … they are just causing pain for many families,” Giselle’s sister, Yadira Mendoza, said.
The suspect Roberto Rodriguez, 20 was booked for vehicular manslaughter. Police said their preliminary investigations indicate that Rodriguez was drunk.
“He took a part of my heart,” Yadira Mendoza said.
It is believed that Rodriguez lives across the road from Giselle Mendoza’s apartment.
One eyewitness who called 911 said he helped detain Rodriguez until police arrived.
“I saw a car coming down 10th, east, about 80-85 mph (130-135 km/h), and it didn’t stop or hesitate. Just right into the building. Boom,” James Fisher King said. “You would hear her moaning, kind of, inside the wall. He went through two apartments.”
CBS reports that a 14-year-old girl who lives in the adjoining apartment to Giselle Mendoza decided not to sleep in her bedroom that night, preventing a potential double-tragedy.
Earnest Davenport, the 14-year-old’s father said, “The car came through her bedroom as well but she was sleeping, thank God, on the couch.”
A number of residents in the same building were evacuated as inspectors assessed the apartment complex for structural damage.
A candlelight vigil was held on Sunday evening for Giselle outside her family home.