Three girls came home Sunday after a car jumped a curb in Valley Glen and plowed them over on the sidewalk, injuring them and killing their grandmother in a horrific chain-reaction crash late Saturday afternoon.
"When I saw them all lying on the floor, I thought everyone was gone," Mauricio Herrera said.
Myrna Herrera, 63, was returning home buying Slurpees with her family from a 7-Eleven down the street from their house when a white BMW jumped a curb in the 12900 block of Vanowen Street, plowing over her and her granddaughters on the sidewalk.
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Mauricio Herrera said he and his wife were a little far ahead from his mother, daughter and two nieces when the crash happened. He saw his family on the ground, not moving, and his mother was unresponsive until he helped her into an ambulance.
"I finally saw her open her eyes, and she looked at me. I told her that, 'Everything's going to be OK, we're going to ride with you in the ambulance.' But we couldn't because my mom was really in critical condition," Mauricio said.
Myrna Herrera later died at the hospital. Mauricio said his mother was a guardian angel and saved the lives of his 7-year-old daughter and his two nieces, ages 13 and 8.
"I know it's going to be a big loss, but at the end, she made a big sacrifice and we can still have the younger lives, because that's how it has to be. The younger ones have to take place here on this Earth, and my mom did her part," he said.
A 56-year-old driver of a white BMW tried to pass other cars in the center turning lane of Vanowen Street, according to the LAPD.
The BMW clipped a silver Mustang, setting off two chain reaction crashes. The Mustang rammed into seven parked cars.
Bill Bustos, detective with the LAPD Valley Traffic Division, said he believed the family saw the vehicles coming towards them. One of the girls, who was on a bicycle, tried to get out of the way, he said.
The car crashed into a wrought iron fence in front of an apartment building, where neighbors and family members later placed flowers and lit candles.
Investigators were looking into whether speed was a factor in the crash. Residents in the area said speeding is a problem.
Authorities said it didn't appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.