A Spring Valley family is devastated after the death of a 21-year-old woman who was only a few blocks from home when she was caught in the middle of a stolen vehicle pursuit.
Just after 10 p.m. on Friday, deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s Substation noticed a car driving with its lights off in the 700 block of Grand Avenue in Spring Valley.
Investigators ran a records check of its license plate, which showed it to be a stolen vehicle. They then attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver sped off and, minutes later, the stolen car crashed into two other vehicles at the intersection of Jamacha and Sweetwater road after driving through a red light at a high rate of speed, Lt. Joel Stranger said.
Bella Chipress, a Spring Valley resident who had just left her job at IKEA, was in one of the cars that were hit. She was only two blocks away from home when the crash occurred.
Chipress' husband, Miguel Chipress, and her mother, Evita Garcia, whom she lived with, were expecting her home and began calling her cell phone to try to reach her. Garcia got in her car to drive around looking for accidents. Chipress called her from the site of the accident after he drove by just to make sure Bella wasn't involved. He called Garcia to relay the bad news, as she drove up.
"We locked eyes and he just looked at me. And I was just like is that her car and he said yeah. And I kind of knew immediately it wasn’t a good outcome by the looks of her car. But I prayed, I prayed, I prayed," said Garcia.
Then they realized their worst nightmare had come true. Bella had been rushed to the hospital, and one look at her mangled car and Garcia knew it was bad.
“I never imagined that. The words to come out of the doctor to say that she didn’t make it. Never in a million years he was gonna tell me that,” said Garcia.
A Gofundme account has been set up to the help Chipress' family. Garcia described Bella as an old soul. She just been married to Miguel and the couple was planning to head to the Marines. Chipress told NBC7 she was set to leave in May for boot camp.
"I feel your presence my love. I love you so much Isabella. I will never ever forget you. We will keep your memory alive always, always always my Isabella. My sweet angel. God’s speed. Fly high," said Garcia.
The second car hit that was occupied by two men and a 15-month old child. They were all taken to local hospitals and were treated for moderate to serious injuries. All are expected to survive, Strange said.
The 17-year-old driver of the stolen car ran away from the crash site but was arrested by deputies after a short foot chase. The passenger, 16, surrendered to deputies.
The driver faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and possession of a stolen car, according to investigators. The passenger was arrested on charges related to a handgun found in the car. Both were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries before being booked into juvenile hall.