LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — A man and his 3-year-old daughter were both killed after a speeding pickup truck crashed into their Long Beach apartment Tuesday night.
“I felt sorry for the man, I couldn’t do anything for him,” said neighbor Mohd Khatatba. “I saw the girl and I got a pulse on her foot. That towers me up inside.”
At about 10 pm, a 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck careened through the wall of an apartment in the 6600 block of Rose Avenue.
“I just heard the revving of the engine, smashed into the house, I got out, first instinct to go help,” witness and Good Samaritan Eduardo Caballero told CBSLA.
A 42-year-old man who was inside the apartment died at the scene, according to Long Beach police. His 3-year-old daughter was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where she also died.
“I got on top of the couch and I picked her up with my two hands and I just lifted her out of the situation — out of all the rubble,” said Khatatba.
The father was later identified as Jose Palacios. His daughter’s name was Samantha. Family members said both were asleep when the truck slammed into the apartment.
“Samantha was a beautiful girl, my little baby, too,” said her uncle Francisco Ramirez.
According to Khatatba, when he entered the apartment a boy and his mother were pinned in a corner. Other neighbors rushed to help and heard the mother’s pleas for help.
“She said help me, help me please, my baby,” said neighbor Neldi Moran. “Please my baby help me, please. It’s what she said, and she cried.”
The boy was later able to walk out on his own.
The driver of the truck ran from the scene and remains at large, police said. He was only described as a man between 20 and 25 years old.
“When you’re talking about a little kid, she didn’t even get to experience life,” Khatatba said. “That’s not something I’m happy with. On top of that, now you have a whole family that’s torn apart.”
Investigators believe the truck was speeding north on Rose Avenue prior to the collision. It’s unclear if there were any passengers in the truck as well. Multiple apartments in the building sustained damage and have been red-tagged.
“The cops are looking for this guy and pretty soon he’ll go to jail,” said Ramirez. “I want this guy to spend the rest of his life in jail… Because it’s not right doing this thing.”
Those mourning the deaths of the father and daughter have made a memorial outside of the now boarded-up apartment. The night after the deadly crash, dozens of mourners gather at the memorial for a vigil.
“Everything is messed up,” Ramirez said.
The surviving mother and son embraced each other throughout the entire vigil.