PD: SUV impounded in hit-and-run death of Mesa girl, 3
Police impounded this Chevrolet Suburban in connection with the hit-and-run death of a 3-year-old Mesa girl. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Family, neighbors called her "Jackie" (Source: Family Photo)
The victim is identified as 3-year-old Jaquelin Mendoza. (Source: Family photo)
Police are searching for the driver of the SUV. (Source: CBS 5 News)
The child was pronounced dead at the hospital. (Source: CBS 5 News)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
A Mesa police said they recovered a white Chevrolet Suburban believed to be the vehicle that struck and killed a 3-year-old girl at a Mesa apartment complex Sunday afternoon.
They also revealed they are processing a second vehicle, a white truck, and have interviewed the owner who was described as being "very cooperative."
Police said they questioned a person of interest, but that person was not taken into custody.
The toddler, Jaquelin Mendoza, climbed out of the family car after getting home from church and ran into the path of the SUV at the complex at 830 N. Alma School Rd. at around 2 p.m., Mesa police Sgt. Efren Carmona said.
The girl's father, Genaro Mendoza, told CBS 5 Jaquelin was the youngest of his four children.
"She was my little girl," Mendoza said in Spanish. "She was my beautiful little girl."
Mendoza told CBS 5 he wants to believe what happened was an accident.
Jaquelin's sister tried to grab the 3-year-old child's shirt but was unable to stop her in time, Carmona said.
According to police, Mendoza was run over by the front and rear tires of the SUV.
After the accident, the driver of the SUV turned around, stopped for a moment to look at the scene, then drove right past the injured child and sped off, Carmona said.
"He did not stop to try to render aid," Carmona said.
Horrified family members saw the accident happen, officers said.
"I saw the dad holding the little girl and that's when the ambulance got here," one eyewitness said.
The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.
For those wishing to donate to help the family, a memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo in the names of Genaro Mendoza and Jaquelin Mendoza.
The suspect hit-and-run vehicle, described a late-model 1990s to early 2000 white Suburban, was found in the complex and impounded about 6 p.m.
Police said the driver was a man between 20 to 30 years old with blond hair. No other description was available.
No arrests have been made and the investigation was continuing, police said.
The Mendoza family has started a memorial fund to help pay for Jaquelin's funeral costs.
Donors can stop by any Wells-Fargo Bank and make a deposit in the "Genaro Mendoza-Jaquelin Mendoza Donation Account."
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.