‘A beautiful part of our life:’ Family mourns 13-year-old girl killed after DUI driver crashes into her bedroom

Local News

PORTERVILLE, California (KSEE) – A tragic crash claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl in Porterville early Monday morning.

It happened just before 4 a.m. on Cobb Street and West Tomah Avenue.

Porterville police say Cambria Sots was sleeping when a suspected drunk driver slammed into her bedroom and fatally injured her.

“We just lost a beautiful part of our life and there’s no words that could be as beautiful as Cambria was,” said her uncle, Martin Garcia.

A makeshift memorial covers what’s left of the wall to her bedroom at her grandmother’s home.

“She was very kind-hearted. She has a smile that could light up any room. She wanted to be a photographer, she wanted to go to culinary school,” said her cousin Cerena Herrera.

Behind the wheel was 19-year-old Alexis Mendoza Tapia, who police say was drunk, speeding, and lost control.

Neighbors who woke up to the crash tried to save her.

“It was horrible, the sight of everything, the debris and knowing a little girl was stuck there was just was so heartbreaking,” said neighbor Jasmin Gasper.

Gasper brought her kids to the memorial to pay their respects. 

“She was so young and full of life. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” said Gasper.

Neighbors say the sharp turn at Cobb Street is a problem area especially at night. 

“I do think this is a bad hazard that needs to be fixed,” said Cambria’s cousin Cerena Herrera.

But in this case, it was a decision that left a family in heartbreak. 

“People need to understand the severity of the decisions they make and the consequences that follow them,” said Garcia.

Mendoza Tapia was booked into the Tulare County Jail and made bail later Monday morning.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family.

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