Two Asian women remain in critical condition after a pickup truck crashed into them in Anaheim, Calif. on Independence Day.
What happened: The victims, a Vietnamese mother and daughter, were watching Fourth of July fireworks in the 200 block of North Grand Avenue when the vehicle lost control and plowed into a crowd they were standing with.
The incident was reported around 9:40 p.m. Responding officers found the victims suffering from “major injuries,” Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Jacob Gallacher said, according to KTLA 5.
Lam Nguyen, 44, and her daughter, Nhung Pham, 22, sustained critical injuries from the impact. They were transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where they remain hospitalized as of July 6.
Witnesses saw the vehicle — a gray Chevy pickup truck — “doing ‘donuts,’ ‘peeling’ out, and/or doing ‘burnouts’” before it struck the crowd, according to James Mai, who set up a GoFundMe page for the victims. The driver passed a sobriety test and was released “on the spot.”
The driver’s mother denied the allegations and claimed that her son’s truck had suffered a broken axle. She told CBS Los Angeles, “I just wanna say he’s very remorseful. He’s broken up over this situation. All he could say is that ‘It was an accident, I didn’t mean to do this.’”
Help needed: Mai hopes to raise $30,000 for Nguyen and Pham’s medical bills. So far, his campaign has collected over $25,000.
Mai says Nguyen absorbed most of the impact as she instinctively tried to protect her daughter. The 44-year-old reportedly sustained a traumatic brain injury, multiple skull fractures, collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, broken torso and arms, broken pelvis and legs, and “numerous other injuries.”
Pham, on the other hand, suffered a broken femur, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, multiple lacerations and internal bleeding. Her liver and at least one kidney were also punctured.
Nguyen and her daughter immigrated in 2010 to join her husband, who reportedly stated that they would be safer in the U.S. because the traffic in Vietnam is “too dangerous.” The couple had been working to support their daughter, who currently attends Cal State Long Beach and has achieved a 3.9 GPA.
“I have known Nhung for several years, as a long-time girlfriend of my nephew,” Mai wrote. “She is almost a part of our family, and is at my home for holidays and family events. She is extremely kind-hearted, soft-spoken, and the type of person who is polite and respectful. It is with great sadness that I write this and make this campaign in support of someone close to our family.”
Mai says Pham is in stable condition, but it’s still unclear if Nguyen will survive. The ongoing investigation is expected to determine whether charges will be filed against the driver.
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