A 2-year-old California girl was killed after being ejected from her father’s vehicle in a rolling crash in what is being investigated as a possible case of driving under the influence, authorities said.
Little Aaliyah Zuniga’s father—identified by reports as David Zuniga—had tried passing a slower moving car when he lost control of his Nissan Maxima along Arrowhead Lake Road in Hesperia about 11:15 a.m. Saturday, officials said.
Aaliyah was ejected as the car veered off the road and flipped over, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Emergency responders airlifted the child to a local hospital, but she could not be saved.
Family and friends were devastated by the loss of Aaliyah, who was remembered as a vivacious and caring little girl.
“Aaliyah or Leelee as her mom would call her was such a fun loving little princess very full of energy,” loved ones wrote on a GoFundMe page created to offset funeral costs.
A second GoFundMe page created by a woman who identified herself as Aaliyah’s godmother also noted a carwash was to take place to raise funds.
“She was a beloved daughter, sister, goddaughter, granddaughter and niece,” the page read. “She’ll forever be missed.”
David Zuniga’s three other children—ages 8, 5 and 6 months old—suffered minor injuries in the crash, officials said.
He was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and child endangerment and was booked at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto, police said.
Aaliyah’s mother, Latina Arellano, said that if her ex-boyfriend’s actions caused their daughter’s death, she wants him to pay.
“I have rage. And I just don’t think it’s fair and I want justice,” she told NBC Los Angeles.
She posted an emotional tribute to her late daughter on social media, writing on Facebok: "I'll never let go (I love you) most."
MAIT Investigators are continuing the investigation into the collision.
Since Aaliyah’s death, many have taken to social media to express their condolences and grief.
“Fly high baby girl,” one person wrote on a memorial page. “I can’t believe she’s gone.”
“You were such a happy baby, brought light to everyone you touched,” another person wrote on Facebook. “God now has a beautiful baby girl.”