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Girl, 5, killed, sister and mother critical in Santa Ana hit and run

A young girl died and her mother and sister were injured in a hit-and-run collision in Santa Ana, California, police said Saturday.

The suspected driver was arrested a few blocks away when a witness driving behind blocked the car in, pinning the suspect until police could arrive, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. He called the witness' response a "heroic action."


The driver, Jessica Louise Cowan of Frazier Park, was being held at Santa Ana jail on suspicion of felony hit and run, as well as driving under the influence, Bertagna said. She may also face vehicular manslaughter charges, Bertagna said.

A preliminary field sobriety test led police to believe she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Bertagna said.

More details, including video, at NBC4 News

In video shot at the scene on Saturday morning Cowan is seen handcuffed and being placed into a patrol car. Her 2002 silver Lexus sedan had a smashed windshield and dented hood and front bumper.

The mother, a 45-year-old Latina, and her two daughters, ages 5 and 6, were crossing in the cross walk at 17th and Spurgeon streets when a small silver car ran a red light "at a high rate of speed" and collided with all three victims, Bertagna said. The victims had the right of way.

The victims were pushed 60 to 70 feet down the road, he added. A pair of children's shoes could be seen left in the roadway in video from the scene.

"The suspect in this case showed no regard for the actions they did," Bertagna said. "This is horrific."

The 5-year-old was killed, while her 6-year-old sister and mother were in critical condition with head trauma, Bertagna said.

They live close to the scene of the collision, he said. A crowd of relatives could be seen at the collision site.

The incident was reported to police at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET.

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