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‘She Was the Best Mom': Woman Dies Days After Hit-and-Run

A mother who was hit by a vehicle that ran a red light in Long Beach died from her injuries at a local hospital Saturday, Long Beach police said.

A SUV struck Maria Mendoza, a 59-year-old mother of four, after a driver failed to stop for a red light on Willow Street at Long Beach Boulevard last Saturday. Officers discovered a woman lying unconscious on the street, and she was taken to a local hospital in very critical condition, police said.

After asking for the public's help to identify the car and the driver, Long Beach Police Collision Investigations Detectives arrested Edward Peterson, 83, of Long Beach at his home, Long Beach police said in a statement. They located him after receiving a "tip from the public."

The car from the crash was located at his home and was "impounded as evidence," police said in a statement Thursday. 

Mendoza's daughter, 23-year-old Isabell, said her mother worked two jobs to support her family. At the time of the crash, Mendoza was coming home to Compton from work cleaning a motel.

"She was the best mom," Isabell said. "She is the best mom."

Isabell said her mom hadn't woken up from brain surgery following the crash earlier this week, and added that she had "tremendous brain damage."

"I am not seeking revenge," she said. "I just want to know why or how. How could somebody hit something and not stop?"

Peterson was booked into the Long Beach Jail for felony hit-and-run, Long Beach police said. His bail was set at $50,000.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident was asked to call Long Beach Police Department Collision Investigation Detail Detective Steve Fox at (562) 570-7355.

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