From Hudson Sangree
The 10-year-old girl killed in crash near Woodland Monday afternoon was not wearing a seat belt, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
A 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy was also were not in a car seat or wearing seatbelts in the one-vehicle rollover, the CHP said in a news release. The 4-year-old suffered major injuries and the 1-year-old was critically injured, the CHP said.
However, the two adults in the car were wearing seatbelts, the CHP said. Both adults suffered major injuries.
The crash sent the three children flying from the compact car as the driver lost control at high speed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ken Walter.
Excessive speed and driving under the influence were under investigation as possible causes, the statement said.
The CHP identified the driver as Arnold Barraza, 25, of Woodland and a female passenger as Cirena Martinez, 28, both of Woodland.
Authorities did not name the children pending notification of other family members.
Relatives at the hospital Monday night described Barraza and Martinez as boyfriend and girlfriend, each with their own children.
The black 2009 Mazda 3 sedan was traveling at approximately 85 mph on County Road 22 - a rural stretch of Woodland's East Main Street that parallels Interstate 5 - when the driver lost control for unknown reasons about 1:20 p.m., Walter said.
Two helicopters airlifted the other victims to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, authorities said.
The car's mangled wreckage came to rest in a ditch in tall grass beside the roadway and railroad tracks.
At the medical center about a dozen relatives, most with tears in their eyes, kept vigil and visited the victims in the intensive care unit.
Destiny Bruno, 25, said she was a cousin of some of the victims.
She said the Barraza and Martinez were boyfriend and girlfriend.
The two older children, including the girl who died, were the woman's, and the baby was the boyfriend's child, Bruno said.
Barazza and Martinez had driven to Tulare to pick up the Barazza's child for Thanksgiving, she said.
She described the girl who died in the crash as "our tomboy that we loved" and said she was protective of her younger sister and cousins.
Aireana Vidales, a 14-year-old cousin, said she grew up with the 10-year-old girl and lived with her much of the time.
The girl went to church in Woodland and "loved God," she said.
Vidales said they would make "wacky" movies together - laughing, dancing and having tickle fights for the camera.
"She was fun, loving and energetic," Vidales said.