Niurca Rios loved to get everyone up and dancing, her family said.
On July 27 at 8:49 p.m., though, Rios was standing on the sidewalk near the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate 8 at Second Street in El Cajon when she was fatally struck by a driver who fled the scene.
Now, a 22-year-old El Cajon man, Darius Watts, faces charges of driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run causing injury after police said he drove up on a sidewalk in El Cajon and killed a pedestrian, identified as 20-year-old Niurca Rios.
Rios’ sister-in-law Alondra Garcia told NBC 7 on Thursday that, the night Rios was hit, her family was worried because Rios didn't come home from work.
“I was with her mom and her brother when they told them the news that night," Garcia said, "and, honestly, I just felt like everything just went blank, and we just couldn't understand, and it was just so heartbreaking to see it and live it.”
Police said Watts drove up on the sidewalk, where he took out a street sign and hit Rios, then drove north on Second street, where he took out a traffic signal. Next, he allegedly turned east onto Naranca Avenue, where he stopped the 2006 Hyundai Sonata in the middle of the road. When police responded to that location after a citizen’s report, they found Watts in the driver’s seat. Police said the car had front-end damage and a traffic signal hanging from it.
Watts now faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI with drugs and/or alcohol and felony hit-and-run with injury.
“A lot of anger, a lot of anger,” Garcia said. “Just to hear that he was himself young, 22, you know, two years older than her … made somebody lose her life at such a young age.”