The family of Amy and Marlene Lorenzo joined a walk to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in Long Beach Saturday morning.
The young sisters were walking to school in a marked crosswalk on April 4, 2019, in the Historic South-Central neighborhood of South Los Angeles when they were struck by a dump truck. The girls were lodged under the truck and dragged, police said.
Marlene Lorenzo, 14, was pronounced dead at a hospital that same day and her sister, 12-year-old Amy Lorenzo, died at a hospital a few days later, LAPD said.
The driver, Stanley Randel, faces two counts of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the fatal collision. He pleaded not guilty last month.
Investigators said there was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were involved in the collision, but the family believes the driver struck the girls because he was distracted looking up music videos while driving.
"My nieces were two wonderful girls and they had so many goals in life," the girls' uncle Tony Lorenzo said at Saturday's event. "Those dreams are gone now because of somebody that was distracted while driving just took their lives away."
Hundreds walked through Long Beach to raise awareness about the cost of distracted driving for the event organized by AAA. At Marina Green Park, 1,009 pairs of shoes were put on display to represent the nine people killed and 1,000 others seriously injured in distracted driving crashes each day in the United States.
Doug Shupe of AAA warned that looking away from the roadway while driving for just two seconds doubles the chances of being involved in a crash.
"On average, to send or read a text message, it takes about five seconds," Shupe said. "Traveling at about 55 mph, that's like going the length of a football field blindfolded."