The Anaheim family was on its was to a Mother’s Day gathering in the Coachella Valley when the crash occurred in Whitewater.
WHITEWATER, CA — A fundraising campaign was under way Tuesday in support of the family of a 31-year-old Anaheim woman who was killed along with two of her young daughters in a Mother’s Day crash on eastbound Interstate 10 in the Whitewater area.
The triple-fatality crash was reported at 7:27 a.m. Sunday in the eastbound lanes near Haugen Lehmann Way, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The Riverside County coroner’s office identified the fatally injured victims as Anaheim residents Cecilia Villalobos and two young girls who were 8 and 12 years old.
On Monday night, a GoFundMe campaign was initiated to raise money to cover funeral costs, medical bills, and other expenses for the family “during this traumatic and difficult time,” fundraiser organizer and Villalobos’ niece Yahaira Barojas wrote on the page. By Tuesday morning, just over $1,000 had been raised.
“My aunt, Cecilia, a loving mother of six, and her two young daughters passed away at the scene of the accident,” Barojas said. “Her husband, brother-in-law and four remaining children were also injured during the accident. They were all rushed to the hospital immediately and are currently getting the care they need.”
The GoFundMe page is at https://gofund.me/19121f70.
Relatives told KCAL9 the family was on its way to a Mother’s Day gathering in Indio when the crash occurred.
California Highway Patrol public information officer Jason Montez said a 31-year-old Indio man was driving a 2022 black Tesla Model 3 eastbound on I-10 near Haugen Lehmann in the No. 3 lane as a 39-year-old man from Anaheim was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban the same direction in the No. 2 lane.
“For reasons unknown and under investigation, the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Suburban crashed into one another causing the driver of the Chevrolet Suburban to lose control, subsequently causing it to crash into the center divider,” Montez said in a statement. “The Chevrolet then overturned ejecting six occupants, and partially ejecting one party.”
The SUV occupants were not all buckled in, according to Montez.
Villalobos was pronounced dead at 8:10 a.m. and the two young girls at 8:25 a.m., according to the county coroner’s office.
Four other occupants of the SUV — a 3-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy — suffered major injuries, Montez said. The driver suffered moderate injuries and a 41-year-old front passenger suffered minor injuries. Villalobos’ father told KCAL9 the two girls were both in a coma, while the teenage boy suffered a broken arm.
The driver and sole occupant of the Tesla was uninjured, he said. An air ambulance carried two victims to a trauma center, where they were treated for major injuries.
All Interstate 10 eastbound lanes in the area of the crash were closed until 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The California Highway Patrol would like to remind you to only drive a vehicle with a safety belt/child safety seat for every occupant and always buckle up,” Montez said.