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California Man Arrested In Christmas Eve Hit-And-Run That Killed Pastor Delivering Toys

Carlos Mayor has been arrested for vehicular manslaughter in the death of Trina Newman-Townsend in Los Angeles on Dec. 24.

By Megan Carpentier
Tragic Car Crash Crime Scenes

A California man was arrested this week in a hit-and-run that killed a California pastor in front of her three foster kids as she was delivering gifts on Christmas Eve.

Carlos Mayor, 55, was arrested Wednesday morning on vehicular manslaughter charges for the Dec. 24 hit-and-run that killed Trina Newman-Townsend, 62, according to Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC and jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. He was released on $50,000 bond on Wednesday evening.

Newman-Townsend, a pastor and community activist, was a mother of two children and currently a foster mother of three, the station noted. (Her family said she'd served as a foster mother to 10 children prior to her death, Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL reported.)

RELATED: California Police Say Father Intentionally Drove Wife And Two Small Children Off Cliff

According to a police press release, she had just delivered toys to a shelter in South Los Angeles when, at 3:25 p.m., she was struck by a vehicle that didn't stop. A witness told L.A. NBC affiliate KNBC that Newman-Townsend was doing something in her driver's side backseat near South Broadway and 88th St. when a blue sedan traveling 40 mph — above the speed limit — struck both her and the open door.

A social media photo of Trina Newman-Townsend

Rather than stopping to render aid, the driver continued northbound on Broadway, running a red light, and sped away, according to police and the witness.

Her brother, Dewayne Newman, told Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL that Newman-Townsend's three foster children were in the car at the time of the fatal hit-and-run.

"She had three children in the car with her that witnessed this and I know they need some closure," he told the station before Mayor's arrest. "I know they need some help."

Authorities offered a $50,000 reward for information in the case, and her family asked the driver to turn himself in.

"If you have any kind of compassion in your heart, if you have any kind of mercy, any sympathy, any humanity, please help us and just turn yourself in," Dewayne Newman told the station.

"Somebody who means so much to the community didn't deserve to go out this way," her niece, Brittani Newman, said at a vigil for her aunt on Dec. 29, according to KABC. "We as a family deserve peace in our hearts. So we ask that you please, please, please surrender yourself."

The LAPD said that Mayor, who lives near the crash site, was taken into custody on Wednesday after a warrant for his arrest was issued, the station added. They did not clarify the circumstances of the arrest but, at a Thursday press conference at which her family spoke, Newman-Townsend's daughter Callie Harvey indicated that he did not voluntarily surrender.

"For a week and a half, you lived your life, and for you to live close by, to see my mother's face on a wall, to see candles, to see us out there, you did not care," Harvey said, addressing Mayor at the press conference, according to KCAL

Newman-Townsend's husband, however, offered more conciliatory statements towards the suspect.

"Carlos, I forgive you," Curtis Townsend Sr. said at the press conference, according to the KNBC. "You panicked. Things happen."

Police said Mayor was speeding at the time his car allegedly collided with the victim. He is due back in court on Jan. 25.

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