Aurora Reynozo, an 87-year-old mother and grandmother, was being dropped off at an apartment complex on the 14000 block of Foothill Boulevard at around 8:45 p.m.
Her friend had parked her car on the street to let Aurora exit the vehicle.
Just as she was exiting, the suspect, 33-year-old Juan Martinez, was driving a white Ford Fusion sedan nearby.
He suddenly began to drift and crashed into the parked car, Los Angeles police said. The force of the collision pushed Reynozo to the ground where she died of fatal injuries.
The suspect continued speeding away. He drove erratically down Foothill Boulevard, spinning out and hitting at least four or five more parked cars nearby, witnesses said.
Aurora’s son, Joel Reynozo, said a witness told him the suspect was driving around 60 miles per hour at the time.
“He hit my mom and there was a chain reaction,” Joel said. “He spun around like three or four times and he hit the other cars and stopped on the fourth or fifth car along the way.”
When the suspect finally came to a stop and officers arrived on the scene, he attempted to flee, but was later apprehended, police said.
Aurora’s family continues to grieve as they process the devastating loss of their family matriarch.
“My aunt meant so much to us,” said Lorraine Aceves, the victim’s niece. “She was just a ray of light. The moment she walked into a room, she brought so much beauty to everybody.”
“She was a loving woman, kind, everybody who knew her loved her because she always had a hot meal,” said Felicia Reynozo, the victim’s granddaughter. “Every time we went to her house, there were always people there. She helped raise other people’s children. She was just a giving person.”
Aurora’s friend who was inside the parked car was taken to a local hospital for treatment. She was later released and is expected to fully recover.
Aurora’s family hopes the story of her death will spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving.
“It’s very tragic to see her leave like this,” said Aceves. “It’s so painful.”
The suspect sustained minor injuries and was arrested on murder charges. Police have not yet identified the substance he was allegedly under the influence of. He is being held on $2 million bail.
A GoFundMe campaign was created to help Aurora’s family with funeral costs.