SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Family and friends gathered Monday night at a mobile home park in San Francisco’s Bayview District to pay respects to the immediate family of a woman killed in a hit-and-run crash on Sunday.
49-year-old Cela de Henriquez had been babysitting Saturday night, watching a couple’s children so they could have a night out without their kids. Afterward, she called a Lyft to take her home.
A silver Mercedes-Benz was speeding on Third Street and didn’t stop at a red light at the Paul Avenue intersection, causing a collision with a silver Toyota sedan, police said.
Syed Waseem Ali of Fremont, 26, was driving the Toyota and had de Henriquez as a passenger via the Lyft ride-hailing service. Both were pronounced dead after the crash.
Two passengers from the Mercedes were taken to a hospital, but are expected to survive. The driver fled on foot, leaving the vehicle behind, and had not been arrested as of early Monday afternoon, police said. A description of the suspect has not been released.
“We loved her so much,” said Josue de Henriquez, Cela’s son. “She was the soul of the party all the time. She was a wonderful woman.”
She came to America from El Salvador about 14 years ago to make a better life for her family, Josue said. Mrs. de Enriquez was a grandmother–Josue had one child and another baby on the way, who unfortunately won’t get to meet her.
She became a devout member of Iglesia Maranatha, a church that has services inside Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church at 3rd Street and Paul Avenue. The church provided the surveillance video to KPIX 5 showing the speeding Mercedes crashing into the Lyft vehicle, a dark Toyota sedan.
San Francisco police are asking the public’s help finding more evidence that will lead to the hit-and-run driver.
“It’s a very tragic situation” said Joseph Tomlinson, an SFPD spokesman. “Hopefully we can find some surveillance footage or witnesses, anything that we can to help bring this guy to justice.”
The de Enriquez family is encouraging the driver to surrender.
“We have stop lights. There’s laws to follow. And if one thing is broken, somebody’s guilty. So justice has to be done,” Josue said. “It should be good for them to turn in and realize what they’ve done.”
“We’re now suffering and it’s going to be a place in our hearts that will never be able to be filled without her company,” Josue said. “It’s a big loss.”
Lyft issued a statement following the crash.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and resulting loss of life. Our thoughts are with the victims’ family and friends during this difficult time. We have reached out to the rider’s family to offer our support and are working to contact the driver’s family,” the company said.