Pedestrian killed in Long Beach crash that might’ve been intentional, driver arrested

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — A man was arrested after a woman was killed and several other pedestrians were injured in a Long Beach crash that investigators say might have been intentional.

As police investigate further, family members are reeling from the sudden loss of 60-year-old Romelia Cuarenta Aguilar.

She was fatally hit after a reckless driver traveling on the wrong side of the road ran through a red light Saturday night at the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Aquarium Way.

Her brother, Juan Cuarenta, owns a taco truck that sits outside of the Pike Outlets where the crash happened. He spoke on the phone with one of our ABC7 translators.

“They were coming to visit to me and they left after they got food,” he said. “She came back to get more food and crossed the street and that’s when the car hit her. The car passed the red light.”

A video clip taken by Romelia’s family members shows the driver quickly approaching the intersection filled with pedestrians just before the crash.

“I tried feeling her pulse. My sister had no pulse. When the paramedics came, they tried to save her but nothing could be done to save her,” Cuarenta said.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Romelia’s family says she worked cleaning houses for elderly folks, describing her as family-oriented. Now, her heartbroken family is raising money on GoFundMe for funeral services.

“We’re all sad… we’re all sad with what happened. So, what I tried to do now is come to work and continue life’s routine. I can’t do anything else. Only God knows why things happen,” Cuarenta said.

According to the Long Beach Police Department, the driver, 46-year-old Khalid Yagobbi stayed at the scene and was later arrested. He crashed into multiple cars and pedestrians. Romelia died and six others were injured, five of them in stable condition. The 6th was treated at the scene and released.

Yagobbi was booked for murder is being held on $2,000,000 bail. A motive for the crash remains under investigation, but police say there is no indication it was an act of terror or connected to any international events.

“The violence and acts of terror abroad have generated concern and anxiety throughout our community, and this apparent act of violence has only added to that anxiety,” Chief of Police Wally Hebeish said in a statement. “The immediate response by our officers, detectives, and partners from the FBI has been instrumental in this investigation, and while there is no evidence indicating a nexus to the current conflict in the Middle East, we will remain vigilant as we continue investigating every aspect of this crime.”

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