Sister: Teen driver in fatal California crash not at fault
By SCOTT SMITH
Jul. 26, 2017
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 14-year-old survivor of a deadly car crash in California that was livestreamed on Instagram said she isn't mad at anyone and doesn't blame the driver.
Instead, Manuela Seja blamed social media, which she said has taken over people's lives and is only going to become more prevalent, television station KSEE in Fresno (http://bit.ly/2v2bYRB) reported Monday.
"Honestly, I'm not mad at anybody and I don't blame anybody," Seja, who suffered a leg injury, said during an interview with the station. "It's all affected by social media. That's what life is now. And it's going to advance more and more. That what it's going to be about."
Authorities say Obdulia Sanchez, 18, was driving the car Friday when it veered onto the shoulder of a road about 75 miles (120.7 kilometers) northwest of Fresno.
She overcorrected, causing the vehicle to swerve and overturn into a field, ejecting and killing her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, authorities said.
The teens' younger sister, Evelyn Sanchez, also said she doesn't blame her older sister.
The 12-year-old told Sacramento television station KTLX (http://bit.ly/2vZdXTb) in an interview Tuesday that a tire blew out and there was nothing her sister Obdulia could have done to prevent the fatal crash.
The California Highway Patrol couldn't confirm if a blown tire caused the crash and said investigators will examine the car later this week. Investigators are also working on a warrant to get all cellphones that were inside the car at the time of the crash.
Evelyn said the family spoke to Obdulia and that the teenager told them she wishes she had been the one who died.
She said that her older sister "has done a lot of stuff" but didn't elaborate.
Obdulia was livestreaming on Instagram and recorded the crash. After a gap in the livestream, the driver is seen standing over the body of the girl, saying she was sorry and it was the last thing she wanted to happen.
She said she expected to spend the rest of her life in prison but doesn't care.
"This is the last thing I wanted to happen, OK? ... Rest in peace, sweetie," the teen says. "If you don't survive, I'm so (expletive) sorry."
The driver was wearing a seatbelt but not the two girls, the California Highway Patrol said.
Obdulia Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter and remained in jail with bail set at $300,000. She is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
Rob Carroll, a chief deputy in the Merced County District Attorney's Office, said he expects the video will be a key piece of evidence.
"Drinking, driving and driving erratically — obviously those are poor choices," Carroll said.
Neither Obdulia Sanchez nor an attorney representing her could be reached for comment.
Her father, Nicandro Sanchez, told Fresno television station KFSN (http://abc30.tv/2tSlnpX) he has seen the video.
"It's an accident," he said. "It happened that way. Who knows why?"
He said Obdulia had a difficult childhood and graduated from high school last year. She was in the custody of Child Protective Services the past two years, he added.
The livestream was recorded on Instagram and posted on Facebook by someone who had seen it. Stockton resident Mary Hernandez said she saw the video there and reposted it.
"People need to know these things can happen," Hernandez said, adding that she had gotten a range of responses from anger to gratitude.
Relatives have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for the funeral of Jacqueline Sanchez.
The page says she was planning to celebrate her 15th birthday — known as a quincenera — on Sunday. Her parents, however, said Jacqueline was going to be confirmed in a Catholic church.