A 22-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence and crashing her minivan into Otay Lakes Reservoir, killing two young girls Sunday evening in San Diego.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Arlene Anna Hernandez of Chula Vista was traveling eastbound on Otay Lakes Road shortly after 6 p.m. when she lost control of her 2005 Kia Sedona minivan, causing the vehicle to fall down an embankment near Wueste Road and crash down into the water of the reservoir, upside down.
Hernandez and her passenger in the front seat were able to make their way out of the sinking vehicle, but young Giulian Figueroa of La Mesa and Lesette Silva of Chula Vista remained trapped inside until nearby Border Patrol agents and concerned witnesses eventually pulled them from the water.
Paramedics were immediately called to the scene, who then airlifted the girls to Rady Children’s Hospital for treatment, though they were pronounced dead shortly after their arrival.
It was reported that the four had spent the day at a nearby park and were returning home at the time of the accident, driving far too quickly in a difficult to navigate stretch of road.
“It’s pretty dangerous, that’s why you have to take it slow,” said Jeunne Victorino, a witness to the crash. “I always see street bikes racing here and I always see cars racing here. It’s really dangerous.”
Friends and family of the two girls gathered at the crash site Monday night to plant crosses into the ground and remember their young lives.
A preliminary police investigation revealed that Hernandez was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, and was booked into Las Colinas woman’s jail in Santee on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, cruelty to children and driving while intoxicated.
Her arraignment is scheduled for this Wednesday afternoon. She is currently being held on $400,000 bail. If convicted, Hernandez will likely face several years in prison, and thousands of dollars in fines.
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