Rhea Mahbubani

Women Involved in Campbell Hit-and-Run Were Childhood Friends: Family

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's Office on Friday identified the woman who was allegedly mowed down and killed by a friend in what police say was Campbell's first murder in two years. 

Sally Hernandez, 23, of Santa Clara, on Tuesday was run over by Elsie De La Rosa, 23, of San Jose, police said. Both women were childhood friends, and family members said they are perplexed as to how this incident could have unfolded.

"I just cannot believe this happened and the way it happened," Benjamin Hernandez, the victim's father, said. "Because supposedly, if that’s her friend, you’re not just gonna run her over and just leave her there."

The latest development in the case comes on a day in which a stoic De La Rosa appeared in court to face murder and felony hit-and-run charges while family and friends held a memorial for Hernandez, who was remembered for being very much a fixture of San Jose's lowrider community.

A number of custom cars were on hand for the memorial as loved ones shared their memories of Hernandez, often referred to as "lowrider girl."

"I knew her," Jennifer Hernandez, a friend of Sally Hernandez, said. "I'm in shock."

Hernandez and De La Rosa traveled to the Campbell neighborhood in the same car and got into a fight after a night of heavy drinking.

"We know that all too often, alcohol fueled violence ends in death," Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Dan Fehderau said.

Hernandez somehow ended up outside the vehicle at Leigh Avenue and Montemar Way. Police believe De La Rosa intentionally rammed into Munoz and left her lying there.

Campbell police responded to a report of an accident involving a car and a pedestrian around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday. Another person called 911 to report a disturbance at the same spot, police said.

Responding officers found a severely wounded woman on the road. Hernandez was taken to Valley Medical Center where she died, police said.

Witnesses told police that they saw a woman fleeing the scene behind the wheel of a gray four-door car.

Police were able to locate and arrest De La Rosa near MacArthur Avenue and Pfeffer Lane around 11:50 a.m. Wednesday because she had been contacting local hospitals, looking for her friend. In a chilling twist Friday, investigators said that De La Rosa called Hernandez's father and told him that she hit Hernandez with her car but couldn't remember where the collision happened.

De La Rosa, who at the time of her arrest was driving around in the same car she allegedly used to run Hernandez down, has been booked into the Elmwood Correctional Facility, and is being held without bail. 

De La Rosa's family members — some of them in tears — declined to talk about the charges after the arraignment.

Investigators on Friday also revealed that two men were with the women Tuesday night. One of the men is De La Rosa's boyfriend, and the other is her brother. Both men ran from the scene.

People with information about the crash are asked to call the Campbell police's Investigations Unit at 408-871-5190. Tips can also be submitted through the police department's mobile app. 

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell contributed to this report.

Contact Us