2 killed, including 7-year-old, in suspected DUI collision in Pittsburg

Bay Area

PITTSBURG, Calif. (KRON) – Police are investigating a fatal crash that killed two people, including a child, and injured five more on Monday night in Pittsburg, according to the Pittsburg Police Department.

A growing memorial was happening on Tuesday at the site of the accident. There’s been a line of cars for hours now of people dropping off flowers and balloons and remembering the two victims.

“I got to hug and kiss her and that’s the last time I saw her,” grandmother Dolores Nogueda said.

7-year-old Sela was in the backseat of this Toyota Corolla on the way home from a night out with her family when a drunk driver hit the back of their car.

“My niece Sela was probably one of the most smartest, spunkiest, most energetic, fun, compassionate little girls you will ever meet in your whole entire existence,” Emiliano Tiscareno, uncle of one of the victims, said. 

Sela’s mother’s boyfriend, Romero Castro, also died in the crash.

Pittsburg police say he lost control of the car and collided with several trees after being hit by the drunk driver.

That’s when his girlfriend’s three young children were ejected from the vehicle.

“It’s just devastating,” Nogueda said.

Dolores Nogueda is Sela’s grandmother, her daughter, and her other two young grandchildren are recovering in the hospital from serious injuries — Niko is four and Julian is just two years old.

The family says Romero was a good man who loved his family.

“He was a good guy, this is just unfair, this shouldn’t have happened at all,” Nogueda said.

The drunk driver, identified by Pittsburg police, as 25-year-old Christian Vargas was on probation for a prior DUI conviction. 

His two passengers, one of them just 10-years-old, are in the hospital with serious injuries. 

Vargas himself was uninjured and arrested at the scene. A bottle of alcohol found in his vehicle.

KRON4 was with the family when they went to the scene of the accident for the first time.

“I feel like I want to throw up to be honest. I feel nauseated. I want to throw up. I don’t feel good,” Nogueda said.

Nogueda says she knows her granddaughter Sela is now at peace and in heaven, and she’s grateful she was able to see her just two days ago.

“This is just a nightmare. A nightmare that I want to wake out of,” Nogueda said.

On Monday night around 6 p.m., police responded to the area of West Leland Road near John Henry Johnson Parkway.

The two vehicles involved were a Chevy Camero and a Toyota Corolla.

Officers arrived to find three children in the Corolla had been ejected from the car. Medical attention was given to multiple people on the scene — Some were taken to hospitals by helicopter.

Police say both cars were driving down West Leland Road when, according to witnesses, the Camero collided with the Corolla. Witnesses say the Camero was speeding.

“I have been working for Pittsburg for 16-years. In the accidents that I have seen this has been absolutely the most devastating that I have witnessed personally,” Lt. William Hatcher said. “The car seat was ejected with the child in the car seat when it landed at this point in the investigation it is too preliminary to determine who was wearing seat belts. Fire and AMS shortly arrived and the three children who were seriously injured were transported by helicopters to local trauma centers.”

No other information has been released at this time as police continue to investigate.

Part of the road remained closed for hours as the investigation continued.

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