'Do the right thing': Family of grandma killed in hit-and-run plea for driver to come forward

The family of a 68-year-old grandmother who was killed in a hit-and-run last month in La Mirada is asking for the driver to come forward.

"What this person has done is heartless and it's inhumane," Maria Chavarria's daughter, Jeannette, said to reporters on Tuesday.

Chavarria, who went by "Carmen," was struck by a hit-and-run driver alongside her two young grandkids on February 20 in the 14800 block of Escalona Road, near Escalona Elementary School, detectives with the Norwalk Sheriff's Station said. The driver never stopped to help the grandmother or her grandchildren, according to detectives.

"For this person to not stop and attend to my kids, my mom, it's just horrible," Jeannette said.

All three pedestrians were taken to the hospital, where Chavarria died from her injuries, authorities said. The two young grandchildren, ages 7 and 9, are recovering from their non-life threatening injuries, Captain Jim Tatreau said during a press conference Tuesday.

"We need the public's help on this. This hit-and-run left two children injured and on the street alone with their grandmother who was dying while waiting for us to respond to this call," he said.

The suspect's vehicle was captured on surveillance video, which was released during the press conference Tuesday. The vehicle was described by authorities as a 2015 to 2017 dark gray Toyota Camry with damage to its front passenger-side headlight area. There is no suspect description at this time, however, authorities said the suspect is a man, based on witnesses statements.

Sheriff's department officials believe that the driver was distracted when he struck Chavarria and her two grandchildren.

"It's not fair that [the person responsible] gets to wake up every single day and live life like nothing happened, and we can't do that. We can't pretend that she's still here. And we have to wake up every single day and try to live life," Jeannette said, as she tried to hold back her sobs. "I haven't lived a day since February 20, cuz this is not living."

Chavarria leaves behind three children and 15 grandchildren.

The City of La Mirada is presenting a $5,000 reward that is being offered to anyone with information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of the male driver. Anyone with information regarding the deadly collision was asked to call the Sheriff's Norwalk station at 562-863-8711 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.