“From what I understand, she was out partying all night and was on the way home,” Sgt. Jeff Brandt of the Oceanside Police told The Washington Post.
The sun had risen about 40 minutes earlier when Sanchez reached the 4000 block of Mission Avenue at around 6:20 a.m., where the victim was walking either to or from the Brother Benno’s soup kitchen, KGTV reported. Brandt said it’s unclear if he was on the sidewalk or the street at the time of the collision. Police have not released the victim’s name, though the station reported he was a “known transient in the area.”
The driver’s teal Pontiac sedan was moving so fast and the impact was so forceful that one of the man’s legs was ripped from his torso at the waist, flew through the back window and landed on the trunk of her car, KNSD reported.
The rest of his body slammed into the front windshield, shattering it and leaving him “impaled into the vehicle,” according to Brandt. He crashed through the window such that the top of his head rested on the passenger seat while his body remained lodged in the jagged hole in the windshield.
The driver continued — with the man’s body in the car and his severed leg on the vehicle’s trunk — for another .75 miles, riding along the sidewalk at one point and crashing through residential landscaping, before coming to rest in a cul-de-sac, where she parked the car, got out and walked to her nearby house, KGTV reported.
When she arrived home, her husband contacted paramedics and the Oceanside Police Department.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
At the scene of the collision, police found the victim’s shoes and pants, which contained keys and identification, alongside shards of Sanchez’s windshield. Police then questioned Sanchez who admitted to drinking and driving, Brandt told The Post. She has been booked into the Vista Detention Facility for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. It remains unclear if she has retained a lawyer, according to the Associated Press.
Edwin Esparza claimed to have witnessed the crash while changing the oil in his car in the early morning.
“There’s no words to really describe it. I mean, just seeing that up close and personal, it’s kind of traumatizing in a way,” Esparza told KNSD.
His brother echoed the sentiment.
“My brother went to go investigate the car, and he said he saw a body in there,” Edgar Esparza told the station. “It’s, like, really disturbing. I never really saw a dead body until now.”
One of Sanchez’s neighbors said he noticed the car but didn’t want to take a closer look, since he could tell it was an upsetting scene.
“Horrific. Yeah, I’ve never in my whole life have I heard a story like this,” Lou Torres told KNSD. “It was so strange that I couldn’t imagine any scenario that would cause this.”
Morbid as the details of the case are, it’s by no means the first of its kind. Last week, 30-year-old Maria Lentini was charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, first degree endangerment, and refusal to submit a breath test. She is accused of killing Patrick Duff in Clifton Park, N.Y., by hitting him with her BMW in December. Court documents said she drove around with his body impaled in the BMW’s windshield for more than an hour, WTEN reported.
And in March of last year, 33-year-old Jose Antonio Santiago struck 62-year-old Anna Lewis near Allentown, Pa., with his Saab sedan so forcefully that the car severed her body at the waist, authorities said, according to Lehighvalleylive.com. The top half of her torso broke through the front windshield, coming to a rest on the passenger side floor. Even then, Santiago insisted to police he hadn’t hit anyone with his car.
“I would’ve stopped,” he said, reported Lehighvalleylive.com. “I’m not a bad person.”
A police report on the collision involving Sanchez and the pedestrian had not been completed as of early Tuesday morning. It is also not clear if she’s entered a plea yet to the charges against her.