Gilberto and Myra Sotelo have seven children. The family had just moved inland, to the community of Homeland, near Lake Elsinore, to get away from the crime in Lynwood. Gilberto had just started a new job in construction and was known as the guy who would go out of his way to help you out, especially when it came to vehicles. He was a whiz fixing them, and spent quite a bit of time in junkyards, with his brother, looking for spare parts.
"He'd be out there in a minute to help somebody out," said Jesus Sotelo, Gilberto's brother. "That's just the kind of person he was."
Gilberto Sotelo was hit and killed on Monday, Aug. 7, on the side of the 215 Freeway, near the 91 Freeway in Riverside. His Chevy Silverado had run out of gas, and he was filling it up. That's when a Honda SUV or truck hit him and sped away. His body was over 30 feet onto the side of an embankment, where, adding insult to injury, someone picked through his pockets, taking his wallet and phone.
The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Myra financially. Their children range in age from just over 2 to 18. They're also asking the driver who hit the 38-year-old father, to turn themselves in.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. They said they found Gilberto Sotelo's stolen phone and the person who stole it. Investigators also said they're looking for a silver-colored Honda, either an SUV or a truck, that likely has damage to its front right side. Anyone with information about the suspect vehicle is asked to call the CHP Accident Investigation Unit at 951-637-8000.
The family's GoFundMe page can be found by clicking here.