Girl Dead, Sister and Mother Injured in Santa Ana Hit and Run

A driver suspected of DUI was in custody in the fatal Saturday collision

By Melissa Pamer
|  Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012  |  Updated 4:01 PM PDT
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Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes Mother and Kids in Crosswalk

A woman identified as Jessica Louise Cowan was arrested in connection with a hit-and-run collision that killed a young girl and injured two others in Santa Ana Saturday.

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Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes Mother and Kids in Crosswalk

A suspected hit-and-run driver is in custody after police say her car slammed into a mother and her two young kids in a crosswalk in Santa Ana. One of the kids was killed, the mom and the other child were critically injured. Antonio Castelan reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 23, 2012.
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A young girl died and her mother and sister were injured in a hit-and-run collision in Santa Ana this morning, police said.

The suspected driver was arrested a few blocks away when a witness driving behind blocked the car in, pinning the suspect until police could arrive, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

He called the witness' response a "heroic action."

The driver, Jessicah Louise Cowan of Frazier Park, is being held at Santa Ana jail on suspicion of felony hit and run, as well as driving under the influence, Bertagna said. She may also face vehicular manslaughter charges, Bertagna said.

A preliminary field sobriety test led police to believe she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Bertagna said. Witnesses estimated she was driving 70 mph.

The collision killed five-year-old Osmara Meza, and injured her mother, Eloisa Magana, and sister, Gresia, 6.

In video shot at the scene, Cowan is seen handcuffed and being placed into a patrol car. Her 2002 silver Lexus sedan had a smashed windshield and dented hood and front bumper.

The mother and her daughters were crossing in the cross walk at 17th and Spurgeon streets (map) when a small silver car ran a red light "at a high rate of speed" and collided with all three victims, Bertagna said. The victims had the right of way.

The victims were pushed 60 to 70 feet down the road, he added. A pair of children's shoes could be seen left in the roadway in video from the scene.

"The suspect in this case showed no regard for the actions they did," Bertagna said. "This is horrific."

The Osmara was killed, while her 6-year-old sister and mother were in critical condition with head trauma, Bertagna said.

They live close to the scene of the collision, he said. A crowd of relatives could be seen at the collision site.

The incident was reported to police at 11 a.m.

NOTE: The names of the victims and suspect have been updated with correct spelling.


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