KEY POINTS

  • The driver allegedly failed to negotiate a turn because of excessive speed
  • The girl was severely injured and had to be airlifted to a hospital
  • Police found that the accused was under the influence of alcohol at the time of collision

A 19-year-old has been arrested in connection with the tragic death of Cambria Soto, who was killed while she was asleep, in a car crash in Porterville on Sunday morning, reported Fox26news.

Police said the teenager, identified as Alexis Mendoza, was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision and charged him with Gross Vehicular Manslaughter. The crash happened at 3:41 a.m. on West Tomah Avenue near Olive and Hwy. 65.

Mendoza reportedly failed to negotiate a turn because of excessive speed and crashed into the apartment where the 13-year-old girl was sleeping in her bedroom with her grandmother. The girl was severely injured and had to be airlifted to Fresno Community Regional Medical Center. Soto did not survive her injuries and later died in the hospital.

Police said that Mendoza was speeding down Cobb Street when the car jumped a curb, smashed through a fence, and crashed into the apartment, reported ABC News.

The family members described Soto as a cheerful girl who would light up any room. She is remembered as a girl who would make everyone smile and showed what it meant to love others unconditionally.

Family and friends in the Porterville neighborhood left flowers and candles near her apartment complex, mourning her death.

Antonio Ramirez, the neighbor who rushed to the accident site remembered Soto as "the happiest little girl." He found her pinned under the wheels of the vehicle on that tragic day. Ramirez also said that the tragedy hurt him like it was his own family.

 “She got her life taken from her and she just had so much to live for,” her uncle Martin Garcia told Fox26news. “It's not something you get back,” he added.

“It is with heavy hearts to share that our dear Cambria was unexpectedly taken from us," the organizer of a GoFundMe page for the family wrote.

Mendoza was booked into custody of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department where he is being held on a $100,000.00 bail.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, it is estimated that every day 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, indicating one death every 50 minutes. It is also estimated that the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion.