A surveillance camera captured footage of a car mowing down three young Oakland family members, one of whom is a 5-year-old boy who is now lying paralyzed in a hospital bed.
The horrific collision occurred late July 5 at Fruitvale and Brookdale Avenues after the trio visited a park and stopped for ice cream. The family members were a block away from home, but they never made it there. Instead, they were rushed to a hospital.
"Why must it happen to us?" Jackie Velasquez, 20, said. "But then again I just have to say at least we are alive."
The security footage, which is difficult to watch, shows the two older girls look up in shock at the oncoming car and brace for impact. In a split second, though, they were airborne, while the boy was dragged by the vehicle.
“I guess also my cousin assumed that it should have stopped," Jackie Velasquez said. The third-year UC Riverside student underwent surgery after sustaining fractured ribs and damage to her internal organs, according to a GoFundMe page that has been set up for the victims' families.
An 18-year-old girl, who was on the verge of starting college courses, suffered a broken ankle, torn knee ligaments and a fractured right hip, for which she will need multiple surgeries.
The youngest child was found under the vehicle with a broken right pelvis and spine. His sister, Wuendy Calmo, who created the GoFundMe page, said the boy will need daily physical therapy to regain any sensation in his legs. It remains to be seen, though, if he will be able to walk again.
"These are very serious physical injuries but there were also many mental injuries as they are having nightmares from that night," Calmo wrote. "As it may take years to be fixed for all the family. They will need 24/7 care from everyone in our family."
While the three recover, Velasquez wonders if she could have done something different.
"I don't why he wouldn't stop," she said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm the one at fault for saying the car will stop."
This collision isn't the first at the intersection, according to Jun Anabo, the co-owner of neighboring restaurant Lucky Three Seven.
"We gotta put some lights up or something," Anabo said. " It's a main thoroughfare, and it just needs to be updated."
Preparations are in place to repave the street where the crash took place. Councilman Noel Gallo is also calling for safety improvements, such as a flashing crosswalk sign. Gallo is planning to talk with the East Bay city's transportation office Monday.
"When it comes to public safety, it has to be a No. 1 issue in Oakland," Gallo said.
The driver stayed on scene following the collision, and its unclear if there were any charges.
As of Sunday afternoon, 85 people have raised over $3,000 of a $10,000 goal on the GoFundMe page. The money will help the family pay utility bills and medical expenses, and even buy gas, according to Calmo.
All three victims come from low-income families so "missing work is not always option but may have to be the only option," Calmo wrote.