UPDATE, NOV. 3, 1:59 P.M.: Jaquinn Ramone Bell, the 31-year-old accused of running down three 13-year-old girls trick-or-treating in Santa Ana on Halloween night, has a "lengthy criminal record" and had his drivers licenses suspended earlier in October, according to media reports.
The driver who struck the girls "probably knew they hit something," judging from the damage to the vehicle, according to Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas, who also explained it was difficult to track down Bell as he had many past addresses, his last known one being in Orange.
Among the two adults with Bell when he was arrested about 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Motel 6, 7450 Katella Ave., Stanton, was his mother, Rojas noted. She, another adult and two children were later released.
Here is that damage Rojas referred to:
From the City News Service report:
Bell has a lengthy criminal record, dating back to a domestic violence incident on Aug. 9, 2008. Bell admitted in a 2009 guilty plea that he "punched my wife ... in the face, giving her a black eye," according to court documents.
Bell was ordered to enroll in a one-year program for batterers with a "drug and alcohol component," but court records indicate he was found to have violated probation several times over the years for failing to pay fines or fees, completing Caltrans service in lieu of jail time or participating in the court-ordered program.
On June 25, 2010, in Anaheim, he violated a protective order to stay away from his estranged wife. He pleaded guilty three days later and was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, was placed on three years of informal probation and ordered to participate in the program for domestic violence, according to court records.
Most recently, Bell pleaded guilty Aug. 4 to child abuse and endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol and hit-and-run with property damage, all misdemeanors. According to court records, Bell, who had struck a median in Anaheim three days earlier, was sentenced to 10 days in jail, put on three years of informal probation and ordered to enroll in a child abusers treatment program.
KABC/Channel 7, citing the DMV, says Bell had his drivers license suspended on Oct. 4.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 3, 11:47 A.M.: A 31-year-old man was arrested at a Stanton motel for causing the hit-and-run deaths of trick-or-treating Santa Ana 13-year-olds Andrea Gonzalez and Lexi and Lexandra Perez on Halloween night.
Jaquinn Ramone Bell has been booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death, according to a just-concluded Santa Ana Police Department press conference.
Bell was initially arrested along with two other adults, and two children were taken into protective custody--thus the announcement by cops Sunday night that there had been multiple arrests in the case and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido pinning the number at five--but everyone other than Bell has since been released, according to police.
Andrea and twin sisters Lexandra and Lexi were in costumes and trick-or-treating in the 1400 block of East Fairhaven Avenue, near the intersection with Jacaranda Street, Santa Ana, when they were struck by a vehicle that then sped away, according to police. A makeshift memorial quickly went up at the scene.
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A black Honda CRV that was found in the nearby Big Lots parking lot with extensive damage to the front end was towed away for evidence collection Friday night. It is believed at least two males had been in the Honda before it was ditched.
Bell is believed to have been driving the CRV that did not belong to him but is associated with someone he knows, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said at a just-concluded press conference that included the disclosure a 17-year-old and 14-year-old were in the vehicle with the suspect.
A Go Fund Me memorial campaign in Andrea Gonzalez's name has raised more than $1,000 toward a $5,000 goal. "We lost three angels that day that did not deserve to go that way," reads an accompanying plea. "We as Andrea's family are trying to remember her as the caring, loving person that she was. She was a person who loved to give and help anybody in anything that she could. Now we are asking for the community's help to give her the memorial she deserves."