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A California man was arrested earlier this week after allegedly driving drunk and crashing his car into an apartment, killing a young girl inside.
Officers with the Porterville Police Department responded to reports of a car crash in the Porterville area at around 3:41 a.m. on Sunday morning, the department said in a recently issued release. Upon their arrival, they found a driver had crashed into an apartment building and struck a child who was sleeping inside. The victim was severely injured and airlifted to Fresno Community Regional Medical Center, where she succumbed to her injuries, according to police.
Alexis Mendoza, the 19-year-old driver of the car in question, was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the release states. Mendoza is alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding when he lost control of his car during an attempted turn, sped off the road, and crashed into the apartment building, police said. Following his arrest, he was booked at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and held on $100,000 bail.
Police did not release the name of the victim in their initial statement on the incident, but local outlets have since identified the child as 13-year-old Cambria Soto. Her uncle, Martin Garcia, told KFSN that his niece’s death is the most tragic thing to have ever happened to their family.
"She got her life taken from her and she just had so much to live for," he said. "It's not something you get back."
Mendoza is alleged to have crashed through a fence and smashed into the family's apartment, traveling through the entire home and sending a toilet into a neighboring yard, according to KFSN. Although Soto was hit, her grandmother was not. Following the crash, neighbors reportedly observed Mendoza crawling out of the car and instructed him to remain at the scene until the arrival of police.
Online jail records show that Mendoza is no longer in custody. It is currently unclear if he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
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