Family members, friends and supporters held a candlelight vigil Monday night at the site of a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles that claimed the life of a 2-year-old boy, his 13-year-old brother and left other members of the family seriously injured.
Through song and prayer, the Amaya-Pineda family is fighting to find the strength to carry on.
“A mother should never bury their children, a mom should never bury her children,” Debbie Amaya, the boys’ mother, said.
The collision happened on Jan. 9, just before 8 a.m. at Main Street and 111th Place.
A speeding Mercedes ran a red light and struck the family’s SUV. The impact pushed their car into a fence and a parked vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Debbie was taking her three children to their grandmother’s house when the crash happened, just two blocks from where the working-class Amaya-Pineda family lives in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood of South L.A.
“I’m so mad at myself, I didn’t see this coming,” Debbie said. “Man, I didn’t see it coming.”
Her 13-year-old son, Chris, was killed from the sheer impact of the collision. Damian, her 2-year-old son, had been on life support. He passed away Monday morning.
“They took half my life away, man,” the grieving mother said. “That guy who did this took half of my life away.”
The 35-year-old mother was only recently released from the hospital’s intensive care unit where she was treated for severe injuries sustained in the crash.
Jade, her 16-year-old daughter, also survived the crash.
“I told her everything will be OK,” Debbie said of her daughter. “She’s stronger than I am. She’s telling me to be strong. She even told me she feels bad because she made it alive. And I told her not to feel like that. She misses her brothers.”
The driver of the Mercedes ran from the scene as his vehicle caught fire, authorities said. So far, police have been unable to find him.
Debbie wants the Mercedes driver to do the right thing, turn himself in and face the consequences of his actions.
“I will forever hate this person because he took two of my sons and that’s not fair,” she said. “He took two of the loves of my life and that’s not fair.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with cost of funeral expenses for those who wish to donate.