Chris Amaya-Pineda: LA hit-and-run leaves teen dead, 2-year-old brother on life support as driver flees
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A South Los Angeles hit-and-run driver has killed a 13-year-old boy and left his 2-year-old brother on life support. Chris Amaya-Pineda and his family were traveling to his grandmother's home when a Mercedes driver crossed a red light and struck the SUV they were traveling in, sending it flying into a fence and a parked car at 8 am near East 111th Place and South Main Street on Monday, January 9. Immediately following the collision, rescue personnel tried to extricate the teenage boy, his 2-year-old brother Damian, his 16-year-old sister Jade, and his 35-year-old mother, Debbie, from mangled car.
Damian, Chris' two-year-old brother, was on life support struggling for his life as of Wednesday evening. “If there’s a miracle, doctors are saying he’ll most likely be paralyzed,” their aunt Amaya said. “He will not be the same little Damian that was before.” His mother, Deborah, 35, remains hospitalized but is expected to recover. Chris’ 16-year-old sister, Jade, was not seriously injured. According to police, the driver, who they believe to be a man, fled the scene after his car caught fire, People reported.
A witness claimed she spoke with the driver before he fled in an interview with Fox 11. "He's like, 'I killed them kids? I killed them?' and I said 'Yes,'" the woman said. According to a GoFundMe page set up to pay for the family's burial and medical bills, all four members of the family were rushed to the hospital, where Chris passed away and Damian was listed as being in "grave condition."
“I remember when I woke up, my body was really sore and they had told me that my brother passed and that my mom was going to be okay,” recalled Jade to KTLA 5. "I need the guy to turn himself in because it's not fair what happened to my brother, and I miss him every day," Jade said. "Damian is still in the same condition, and we just need the prayers to continue to come our way," said Tracey Rodriguez, the children's aunt. "And we want to thank everyone who has already been praying for us."
Debbie was discharged from the ICU on January 12, but her loved ones wrote on the fundraising page that she still has to have multiple procedures before she can return home. The children's father, who was at work when the tragedy occurred, has found it challenging as the family deals with their devastating loss and looks to the community for help.
"We as a family will of course pull funds together for Debbie and her family as best as we can, as this is our responsibility first, but it'd be a blessing to receive any additional help that'll really make a difference," the fundraiser reads.