Friends and family of a beloved street vendor in Los Angeles remain in shock after she was killed in a brutal crash involving a suspected DUI driver. Adding to the pain of their loss, is the knowledge that the man behind the wheel responsible for their mother’s death was released from custody that same day.
Angeles Rodriguez was a loving mother, grandmother and sister. Last week, her life was cut short by a suspected drunk driver — she was just 55 years old.
She was known for selling churros and worked as a vendor for more than 15 years.
In fact, she had three jobs. Her family says she also worked at a convalescent home, and was also a cleaner.
Rodriguez was on her way to work Sunday morning when she was hit by a speeding car that slammed into her driver-side door.
The crash happened around 5 a.m. near the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Main Street near Downtown.
The alleged drunk driver is believed to have ran a red light before crashing into her car. Both vehicles were seen smashed into utility poles; Rodriguez’s car was pushed into the corner of a building.
The passenger of the other vehicle got out and was walking around, but Rodriguez was killed in the impact.
“Now we’ve got to pay the consequences because this driver was reckless enough to drive — no it’s not fair,” said Edgar Gonzalez, Rodriguez’s son. “She had her whole life ahead of her.”
The suspected DUI driver was arrested on scene, but was released later that day after posting bail.
Rodriguez’s family say that’s not acceptable.
“He needs to be behind bars and think about everything that he did and always remember that he did something wrong and that he took my mother’s life,” Edgar Gonzalez said.
The family, still reeling from the tragedy, is trying to honor her memory. This weekend they’ll be hosting a food drive fundraiser to feed those she loved.
The drive will take place at 1227 W. 62nd St. in Los Angeles from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“My mom was very hard-working woman, she worked downtown as a street vendor for many years, everybody in the area knew her,” said Yessica Gonzalez, Rodriguez’s daughter. “She had her spot where she would sell for so many years and everyone is still in shock.”
Yessica says her mother was always giving back and helping out whoever she could. She says that’s a big reason why they expect a lot of support at the upcoming fundraiser.
Still, Edgar says he’s processing the loss of his mother and says it still doesn’t feel real.
“It’s been a week and I still can’t get over… I just feel like one day she’s going to step in the house, knock on the door, walk in and I’m going to be able to hug her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her,” Edgar said.
In addition to the food drive fundraiser, a GoFundMe page has also been set up to help out the family in their time of need.
As for the suspected DUI driver, he hasn’t been identified by police, but the crash remains under investigation.