Witnesses, Surveillance Lead Police to Arrest in Fatal Halloween Hit-and-Run | NBC Southern California

Witnesses, Surveillance Lead Police to Arrest in Fatal Halloween Hit-and-Run

Photos of the SUV showed extensive damage to the front of the car and a smashed windshield

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A driver accused of killing three teenage girls in a hit-and-run on Halloween was driving on a suspended license, court records show. Hetty Chang reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014)

    Numerous witnesses and police surveillance led investigators to the Stanton motel where they arrested a 31-year-old man after a hit-and-run that killed three teen girls Halloween night in Santa Ana, police said Monday.

    Jaquinn Ramone Bell was found at a Motel 6 on Sunday with his two children and two other adults after a multi-agency investigation, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said.

    Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido had said Sunday that five people were arrested in connection with the hit-and-run, but police announced Monday that they had arrested only Bell and had released the two adults. Bell's children were taken into protective custody, Rojas said.

    "He wasn't fighting or resisting, really that I'm aware of, it was crazy," a witness to the arrest said. 

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    A man arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash that left three teenage girls dead in Santa Ana on Halloween has been in and out of jail for a dozen years, court documents show. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. (Published Monday, Nov. 3, 2014)

    The search for Bell began when Andrea Gonzalez and her twin friends Lexi and Lexandra Perez, all 13, were fatally struck by an SUV that was later found ditched about three blocks away Friday night. Police said the girls were walking in a crosswalk when they were hit.

    After leads brought police to the Stanton Motel 6, a surveillance team discovered Bell was staying there. He was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing death.

    "He did not attempt to stop or render aid to the children that he hit," Rojas said. "There's no doubt in my mind that anybody who was driving in a vehicle that impacted three individuals in a crosswalk and had significant damage to the vehicle probably knew ... they hit something."

    According to police, Bell was driving with his 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter in the car. It is unclear how fast Bell was allegedly driving, but police said there were no skid marks at the scene.

    Santa Ana Police Announce Arrest in Halloween Hit-and-Run

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    One person was booked for a felony hit-and-run that killed three teenagers in Santa Ana on Halloween, officials announced. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. (Published Monday, Nov. 3, 2014)

    "We just need to keep in mind that the speed limit is 45 mph in that area, so somebody hitting pedestrians, even at the speed limit, would cause death," Rojas said.

    Bell was previously arrested in August for hit-and-run and DUI, and his license was suspended in October, 17 days before the crash.

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    More than $40,000 had been raised as of Monday morning for three teens killed in a hit-and-run Halloween evening. Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido said five people had been arrested in connection with the crash, and a memorial near where the teens were killed continued to grow with candles, flowers and notes. Annette Arreola reports live for Today in LA on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.By Jeff Scharping (Published Monday, Nov. 3, 2014)

    According to court documents, Bell had been in and out of jail for a dozen years. He had two court warrants issued for his arrest, one for domestic violence and the other for contempt of court.

    Pulido said Sunday that investigators worked around-the-clock to close the case.

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    An emotional mother of twin girls who were killed in a hit-and-run while trick-or-treating was heartbroken. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. (Published Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014)

    "We've done a very strong effort, 24 hours nonstop, in order to find individuals that are associated, and we believe that one of them was the driver," Pulido said. "This is a street where cars can go fast, it's just the nature of the street. So we're going to see what we can do to make it safer."

    Andrea’s mother Maria Gonzalez spoke out after the first time after hearing about the arrests.

    Arrests in Deadly Halloween Hit-and-Run

    [LA] Arrests in Deadly Halloween Hit-and-Run
    Police announced multiple arrests in a hit-and-run that killed three teen trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. The victims were two twin sisters and a childhood friend. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. (Published Monday, Nov. 3, 2014)

    “She was my whole entire life, my little angel,” Gonzalez said.

    Online donations totaling more than $40,000 had been raised as of Monday morning as a memorial of candles, flowers and notes continued to grow for the teens at Grand and Fairhaven avenues.

    Donations Pour In for Families of Girls Killed in Halloween Hit-and-Run

    [LA] Donations Pour In for Families of Girls Killed in Halloween Hit-and-Run
    A fund for the funerals of three 13-year-old girls killed in a hit-and-run on Halloween night had tens of thousands of dollars donations Sunday as the mayor of Santa Ana announced five arrests in the case. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. (Published Monday, Nov. 3, 2014)

    “It’s hard. I’ve known them since I was six, and now they’re gone,” friend Ashley Jimenez, 11, said. “They would always be smiling, happy all the time.”

    Friend Paige Flynn added that her friend Lexi had a "beautiful smile" and that she and Lexandra sat near eachother at school and would "always talk.'

    "I'm very sad, but I'm glad that they're in a better place now," Flynn said.

     

    Anyone wishing to donate to the girls’ memorial funds can visit the following links:

    Hetty Chang and Samia Khan contributed to this report.

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