AZUSA — An Azusa man who rushed to help at the scene of a crash that left a 4-year-old girl dead is now helping to raise money to help the family pay for services and is planning a car wash Saturday.
Sophia Flores of Azusa died following the four-vehicle collision, which took place about 8:40 p.m. Monday, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
Her young brother and sister were also badly injured in the crash, but expected to survive, Azusa police Lt. Mike Bertelsen said.
To help the family with the cost of funeral expenses, Daniel Romero spent several hours Thursday and much of the day Friday collecting donations at the crash scene.
Additionally, a car wash is planned from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Gladstone Street and Azusa Avenue to raise money for the grieving family. But prior to the car wash, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Romero will be stationed to collect donations at the crash scene.
He said he was talking on the phone in his home near the crash scene when he heard the collision.
“It was pretty loud,” he said. “I threw the phone down and ran over there.”
He said when he reached the crash scene, other bystanders were already attending to two injured adults, so he focused his attention on the children in the back seat of the Lexus.
A little girl, whom he would later learn was Sophia Flores, was not breathing, he said. He began performing CPR until police arrived and took over.
“One of the girls lost consciousness and I woke her up,” he said. The injured girl kept trying to move, so Romero held her hand to keep her calm and still. The little boy was conscious.
Despite the efforts of Romero, other bystanders and first responders, Sophia Flores died at a hospital shortly after the crash, officials said.
“The last words she said were, ‘Where’s my mommy,’” Romero said.
“It still gets me,” he said. “I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep lately. I still see her face.”
But he added that he felt compelled to do what he could to help the family.
“I have a 2-year-old at home, and an 11-month old, so it kind of hits home,” he said.
Two women also inside the Lexus containing the children were hospitalized with less-serious injuries, along with three other adults involved in the crash, officials said.
The car was being driven by the children’s mother, who has not left her surviving children’s bedsides at the hospital, Romero said.
The Lexus was eastbound on Gladstone Street when, for reasons that remained under investigation, it went through a red light at Citrus Avenue, becoming involved in a crash with a passenger bus, a pickup truck and another sedan, according to Lt. Paul Dennis.
The investigation was ongoing.