In an intersection, in a moment, a life was claimed, and her family devastated.
Christine Jackson and Matthew Newells had blended their families and begun their second decade together with a wedding barely a week before.
She was returning from a weekend trip to Sacramento. Newells, with their baby and her two teenagers, picked her up at the airport. They were within minutes of their Palmdale home, beginning a left turn, when the other vehicle on the cross street allegedly ran the red light and broadsided their SUV.
It happened at the intersection of Palmdale Boulevard and 10th Street West.
Witnesses described the impact as sounding like a bomb.
Newells frantically scanned the crushed rear seat area, and saw his wife slumped over the baby's car seat. Matthew Jr. had been shielded. But not Christine.
"We said, 'Till death do we part,'" Newells said, in pain as he recovers from broken vertebrae and cracked ribs. "I didn't think it would be nine days later."
His mind flashed back to when they had met, during his own parents' divorce, and she had helped him deal with it — she who had lost her first husband to premature death. Newells said she helped him find direction in his life, helped him become a better man.
They found jobs together at the Apple Store in Valencia. She made time for an online study program and got her master's degree in business administration. She was about to start in a new position with Apple that would enable working from home.
And then there was her generosity. Newells remembered the man who came up to them at a service gas station, saying he was in a jam and needed gas money to get his family home.
"I was going to give him ten bucks," Newells said.
She said, 'fill him up, baby.' She would give you her last dime even if she didn't know who you were."
But nothing was more important than her children.
"She loved her boys," said Newells. "You couldn't ask for a better mother."
Her 17 year old, Tevye, suffered foot damage, but otherwise escaped serious injury. Matthew Jr. and Taviere, 15, were flown by helicopter to a hospital.
The baby is back home, but Taviere's internal injuries and fractures were so severe he was transferred to LA County+USC Medical Center where he remains in intensive care.
For now, the Newells are staying at his mother's house, in part for the help and support she and extended family members are providing, and in part because Newell now cannot bear to be in the home he shared with Christine.
The vehicle that struck the Newells had been stolen during a carjacking, authorities said, by a teenage girl. She was hospitalized with nonlife threatening injuries, and released Thursday to juvenile custody, according to Sgt. Troy Ewing of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau, which is investigating the collision and the incidents that preceded it.
The collision occurred shortly after what the Sheriff's Department said was a brief pursuit. Newells and stepson Tevye both recalled seeing Sheriff's vehicles pull alongside them at the intersection, then turn left ahead of the light changing.
Deputies had been alerted to the carjacking, and to reports of the vehicle being driven erratically, Ewing said. According to his account, the vehicle first crossed 10th Street West going west, and some distance down the road made a U-turn and passed the deputies going the opposite direction. Ewing said the deputies were making their own U-turn to get behind her when the collision occurred.
"She hit my babies and just destroyed our lives," said Newells' mother Linda Johnson before being overcome with sobs and tears.
Colleagues of Newells and his late wife have established a gofundme page for the family.