A woman is fighting for her life on Saturday after being struck by a hit-and-run driver who crashed through an apartment building in Santa Ana.
The woman was identified as 32-year-old Ayoleone Bufkin, a Fullerton resident. Bufkin has undergone multiple surgeries since the devastating crash.
“It’s so hard to even put into words,” said Roland Gonzalez, Bufkin’s father. “It’s just unfathomable. She’s such a good girl. She’s with her family and her partner just minding her own business and something like this happens.”
On Monday, officers responded to an apartment complex on the 1600 block of Memory Lane around 10:20 p.m., according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
When police arrived, they discovered a minivan driver had slammed into the first-floor apartment while Bufkin was relaxing on the couch. The impact left the woman pinned underneath the vehicle.
Paramedics extricated Bufkin and rushed her to the UC Irvine Medical Center where she remains on Saturday night, fighting for her life. A second woman inside the apartment was also injured, but sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver ran away from the scene after the crash, authorities said. It’s unclear whether additional passengers were inside the minivan. Investigators believe the vehicle drove through the Memory Lane and Garden Grove Boulevard intersection and struck multiple fixed objects before crashing into the first-floor apartment.
Lamar Moorer, whose mother lives in the building, said he was standing in the parking lot when he saw the speeding vehicle.
“I just saw a car going real fast, going through with no brakes or anything in the way through our apartment,” said Moorer.
Bufkin was visiting her cousin’s apartment when the crash occurred. Loved ones said she was studying to be a pastry chef before her life was turned upside down.
“She was just sitting on the couch in her cousin’s house, relaxing, she thought it was going to be safe,” said Aquah Bufkin, the victim’s mother. “Then all of a sudden, she’s run down by a van in the house? That makes no sense to me.”
Bufkin remains in critical condition after suffering severe injuries.
“Her pelvis was in pieces,” said her mother. “They had to piece it back together. Her intestines were on the outside of her body and they had to put them back in. Her leg was broken. Her left leg didn’t have blood going to it for over 24 hours, so they had to amputate her foot. She has a stent there to try to keep the rest of the leg alive.”
The suspect remains at large and so far, police do not have any descriptions.
“If someone does know who they are, please come forward,” said Gonzalez. “Go to the police, go to the news. And if you [the suspect] are listening to this, turn yourself in. Come forward, please. Imagine if this was your child. What would you want done?”
A GoFundMe campaign was created to help Bufkin’s family with medical expenses.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Santa Ana Police Cpl. N. Quinones at 714-245-8216 or the traffic division at 714-245-8200.