Pittsburg: Family day turns tragic after suspected drunk driver careens into car
PITTSBURG, Calif. - It had been a fun-filled day at John Henry Johnson Park for one Pittsburg family when tragedy struck.
Relatives told KTVU that their loved ones were just five minutes from home. But the day would end with a horrific car crash that resulted in the deaths of two members of that family.
On Tuesday, police were back at the scene of the crash collecting evidence. The deadly incident happened just after 6 p.m. on West Leland Road.
Relatives said the family, which included three young children, was making the short trip home in their silver Toyota. Police said that's when a man in a Camaro driving an estimated 85 mph slammed into the back of the Toyota, which then slammed into several trees. Police said all three children were ejected.
Two people died at the scene, including 7-year-old Sela Mataele- Rosalez, who a relative said had spent part of Monday planning her 8th birthday.
She was a second-grader at Heights Elementary School in Pittsburg where a staff member said she would light up every room she was in.
The second victim who died was 28-year-old Romero Castro. He was driving the Toyota. Castro was a longtime partner of Sela's mother and the father of one of the children in the car.
Police said the crash also left a 1-year-old injured. Relatives said the child suffered a broken leg and collar bone. His 5-year-old brother was also in the car, along with their mother Corrina Rosalez who relatives said broke all her ribs.
All three are expected to survive.
Police arrested the driver of the Camaro, 25 -year-od Christian Vargas. Police said he wasn't injured but seemed impaired. They found alcohol in his car.
Vargas is being held on charges including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence. He was on probation for a previous conviction of driving under the influence.
Police said there were two others in Vargas' car including a 10-year-old who suffered serious injuries.
The Rosalez family tells KTVU they are now rotating shifts at three different hospitals and making sure the children don't feel alone.