Friends Sunday are collecting money to help cover funeral and medical costs for a Long Beach family struck by a suspected drunk driver on Halloween night, leaving a 3-year-old and his father dead and his mother critically injured.
More than $166,000 from more than 2,800 different donors was collected within a day of the GoFundMe.com page being set up for the victims, identified by organizers as 3-year-old Omar Awaida and his father, 30-year-old Joseph Awaida, as well as mom, 32-year-old Raihan Dakhil.
The Awaida family is part of the local Muslim community and they own Joe’s Auto Center in Long Beach. The GoFundMe post says the fund is for “medical, funeral, and other financial burdens the family will have to endure as a result of this tragedy.” An update posted later said, “In response to the overwhelming generosity this campaign is receiving, the family intends to use any excess funds (beyond the above stated scope) towards a lasting legacy project (Sadaqa Jariya), to be determined in the near future. Thank you again for your support.”
The crash occurred at 9:55 p.m. Thursday in the area of Country Club Drive and Los Cerritos Park Place, where responding officers found a man, a woman and a boy lying on the ground, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
The father died shortly after the crash and the boy died Saturday, police said. There has been no update regarding the mother’s condition.
Police determined that the driver of a 2002 Toyota Sequoia was heading southbound on Country Club Drive and failed to make a turn. Instead, he drove onto the sidewalk and hit the three pedestrians, who were walking from Los Cerritos Park Place, police said.
Carlo Adrian Navarro of Long Beach, 20, was detained at the scene and later arrested for allegedly driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter. He was jailed on $100,000 bail.
Navarro posted bond and was released Friday, according to the Sheriff’s Inmate Information Center.
Anyone with information on this crash was asked to call Long Beach police at 562-570-7355. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.