Santa Ana Police have arrested a 31-year-old man in connection with a fatal hit-and run that killed three teenage girls who were trick or treating near Los Angeles on Halloween.
Jaquinn Bell was arrested Sunday at an Orange County motel on suspicions of felony hit-and-run causing death; he is being held on $500,000 bail. Formal charges are expected to come this week.
According to Santa Ana police, Bell drove a black Honda SUV through a marked crosswalk that was near an elementary school. He allegedly never hit the brakes after he struck the trick-or-treaters Friday around 6:45pm.
The girls, all 13, were identified as twin sisters Lexi and Lexandra Perez and friend Andrea Gonzalez. Two of the girls died at the scene, and the other died as paramedics attempted to transport her to a nearby hospital.
Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said Bell was driving with his two teenage children in the vehicle at the time of the accident. After Bell struck the girls, he drove off and abandoned the Honda in a nearby parking lot.
In 2009, Bell was put on probation after pleading guilty to domestic violence charges. Court records show he has violated his probation seven times. Due to his infractions, Bell spent several short periods in jail and was ordered to complete substance abuse and child endangerment treatment programs.
According to the Orange County Register, on August 4, Bell plead guilty to charges hit-and-run with property damage, driving under the influence and two counts of child endangerment—as he had his children in the car on this occasion, as well.
The Register also reported the Honda SUV Bell drove on Halloween was not registered to him.
Family, friends and members of the community held a vigil Sunday night at the crosswalk where the accident occurred.
Andrea’s brother, Josafat Gonzalez, 21, was pleased by the arrest, but admitted it did little to assuage his grief.
“It won’t bring my sister back,” he told the LA Times.