Parents of two small children who were killed in a Memorial Day weekend traffic accident in Echo Park thanked the public Wednesday for contributing to a trust fund that was established for the families.
Police presented the families of Luisa Cornejo, 3, and Edwin Camacho, 4, with checks totaling $6,000 at a news conference at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division.
Luisa's mother, Gloria Escobar, told reporters that she was grateful to Los Angeles city officials for setting up the fund. Edwin's father, Ventura Camacho, said his prayers go out to everyone who contributed to the fund.
The presentation of the money was arranged "to let the community and police officers and Fire Department and the media know that we could not have done it without them," said Det. Tia Morris.
Both families live in Echo Park near the site of the accident. Edwin and his parents lived in an old, poorly maintained apartment on the corner where the incident occurred.
The families do not have specific plans for the money, Morris said. "It's just going to help them," she said.
The two children were killed May 24 when a van trying to make a left turn at Alvarado and Montana streets struck another vehicle, sending the car spinning out of control, officials said.
The car hit a fire hydrant and then ran over the two children who were playing on the corner with their parents, police said.
Both youngsters died that night at Childrens Hospital.
Luisa's father, Luis Cornejo, said the accident devastated the family.
"Everything has completely changed. Everything. We're not the same people," he said.
Since the accident, Cornejo and Escobar have moved from their apartment.
"We just don't want to go back to the memories," Cornejo said. "We are probably going to save the money. We might use it to get another apartment."
He added that he plans to use some of the money to buy flowers to place on his daughter's grave.
"We miss her," Escobar said. "I'm not ready to talk about it. It was something terrible."
The van's driver, Vincente Perez, 43, has been charged with one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and remains in custody, police said.
After the accident, Perez fled on foot but returned about 45 minutes later so he was not charged with a hit-and-run violation, police said.
Perez is scheduled to go to trial July 25, according to the city attorney's office.