Mourners gathered to pay tribute on Wednesday to an Adelanto mother at the corner where she was killed in a crash involving a man who was allegedly driving while intoxicated with a 3-year-old child.
Friends and family identified Frenetta “Netta” Sartor-Miller, 42, as the woman who San Bernardino County sheriff's officials said died Saturday at the scene where a Nissan collided with a Honda driven by a suspected DUI driver.
Miller, who worked as a bus driver for the Victor Valley Union High School District, is survived by her husband Whalen Miller, three children and a 2-year-old granddaughter, loved ones told KTLA.
Hundreds of people came out for her vigil Wednesday night, including her daughter Diamond Miller, who said she'll never stop feeling close to her mom.
“My mother, she was my best friend. And my mom, she’s still my best friend until this day, and nothing’s going to change," she told KTLA. "My momma, she had a beautiful soul.”
Her son Lavonne Morton described her as "the greatest person in the world" and said she always wore a smile.
"Anytime you needed anything, you could go to her, talk to her about anything,” Morton said.
Whalen said it was painful to know something as simple as poor decision-making had caused such irreparable damage.
"He robbed my kids from their mother and stole my wife from me," he said of the alleged intoxicated driver. "I could never have that back.”
Authorities responded to the crash scene at the intersection of Highway 395 and Seneca Road, on the border of Adelanto and Victorville, around 11:20 p.m. that night and determined Fernando Pantoja Jr. was heading east on Seneca Road when he failed to halt at a stop sign, the Sheriff's Department said in a news release.
Frenetta was traveling north on Highway 395 at the time, and her blue Nissan was broadsided, deputies said. Both vehicles were propelled into a dirt field east of the intersection.
The mother of three was extricated but pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Emergency responders found a 3-year-old passenger in Pantoja's car who was unhurt. Pantoja, meanwhile, had suffered major injuries and was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
The 26-year-old Victorville resident has since been booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and cruelty to a child, deputies said.
Inmate records show he was formally arrested around 12:45 a.m. Sunday and was being held on $250,000 bail, inmate records show. He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help pay for Frenetta's funeral expenses.