Girl dies after ATV hit-and-run crash that killed friend

An 11-year-old girl was pronounced brain dead and taken off life support on Wednesday, four days after an SUV hit her, killing her best friend near Apple Valley.

Christina “Tina” Bird was pronounced dead at 8:50 a.m. at Loma Linda University Medical Center, family member Ernie Nunez confirmed. Her death follows that of Jacob Martinez, 12, who died in Saturday’s accident.

Tina and Jacob celebrated the Fourth of July weekend with their families at an Inland Empire campground. The children were riding a small ATV around 9 p.m. Saturday when they were hit by a larger Polaris SUV on Stoddard Wells Road, authorities said. The vehicle fled the scene after the accident.

A bystander found the children at the Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area, the California Highway Patrol said in a news release. The 53,000-acre recreation area is managed by the US Bureau of Land Management.

Jacob was pronounced dead at the scene. Tina was found with multiple broken bones and a severed spinal cord and was rushed to a nearby hospital by paramedics before being flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center for further treatment, authorities said.

On Tuesday, before her daughter’s death, Tina’s mother asked the public for help in locating the SUV responsible for the fatal hit-and-run accident.

“My daughter was 11 years old. She was loved by a lot of people,” said Felicia Nunez.

The CHP is investigating the crash and, based on the debris at the scene, believe the suspect’s vehicle is a bright orange 2021 RZR Turbo S or Turbo S4.

Investigators said the children were traveling northeast on Stoddard Wells Road in a Tao Tao ATV, while an orange UTV was traveling east on Stoddard Wells Road east of Central Road. The side-by-side hit the children’s vehicle, the CHP said. Side-by-side off-road vehicles are characterized as utility vehicles with bucket or bench seats and a steering wheel.

In a press conference outside the hospital asking the public for help, Jacob’s aunt called for the culprit to be brought to justice.

“My nephew was mutilated. He was trampled to death,” said Daisy Montano. “And that person just left.

“We were just trying to be with our families,” she said. “It was right in front of our campsite. We had no control over what would happen.

On a GoFundMe page for Tina, organized by Ernie and Felicia Nunez, organizers said, “Tina has grown her wings to join her grandma and grandpa in heaven where she is pain free.”

Anyone with information about the fatal crash is asked to call CHP Commissioner Cesar Ramos in the Victorville office at (760) 241-1186.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-06/girl-on-life-support-dies-after-atv-crash-that-killed-friend Girl dies after ATV hit-and-run crash that killed friend

Alley Einstein

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