A woman died after being struck by a minivan in South Los Angeles early Monday, and police are searching for the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene after the deadly collision, officials said.
Ana Tica, 33, was killed in the collision, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a written statement. Her city of residence was not available.
The collision occurred around 3:40 a.m. in the area of Vernon Avenue and Towne Avenue, in the Historic South-Central area, police said.
Tica was walking west along Vernon Avenue in the No. 1 lane when she was struck by a white minivan also heading west on Vernon Avenue, investigators said.
"The vehicle stopped briefly, then fled southbound on San Pedro Street from Vernon Avenue," according to the statement.
It was described as an early-1990s model, similar to a Dodge Caravan, with damage to its left front area. No description of the driver was available.
Paramedics were unable to save the woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Tica's family members said she'd been living on the streets in South L.A.
Though she formerly had an office job and provided for her two sons, ages 3 and 17, she got hooked on drugs and alcohol and had her children taken away, Tica's cousin Tania Sanchez told KTLA.
"She's got three brothers," Sanchez said. "The youngest brother did what he can to help her out."
Her cousin said the family always tried to get Tica back on the right path, "but it was like a month, and next thing you know her bad friends, bad influence would come again and send her pictures of whatever drugs she was in, and she would run to them. And she would get lost for a whole week."
Despite her struggles, the manner in which Tica's life was taken is "not fair," Sanchez said.
"(They) took a lovely person. She just needed help, that's all," she said, adding that, "The help was there; it was her."
In addition to the hit-and-run vehicle, police are also looking for a second vehicle and its driver who they believe witnessed the fatal hit-and-run.
A nearby surveillance cameras captured images of a white car, possibly a 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer, with black door handles in the area at the time of the collision, officials said. It was believed that car returned to the scene, then drove off after a few minutes.
"Detectives would like to interview the occupants of that vehicle to assist us in identifying the hit-and-run vehicle and driver," the police statement said.
Loved ones have created a GoFundMe campaign to cover Tica's memorial costs.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD at 877-527-3247. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.