California parents defend teenage driver who livestreamed fatal crash that killed her younger sister

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The parents of a teenage driver who livestreamed a fatal crash that killed her younger sister have defended her, labelling the tragedy an “accident”.

Obdulia Sanchez, 18, is alleged to have lost control of her car on a highway in California, causing the vehicle to overturn and hurl her sister Jacqueline, 14, through the rear windscreen.

A recording of the Instagram livestream shows Sanchez shaking her unresponsive sister after the crash and saying she was sorry.

Her father Nicandro Sanchez, of Stockton, told US TV station KFSN he believed his daughter knows she did something wrong but does not know what happened.

Mr Sanchez said she had a difficult childhood and graduated from high school last year. In the past two years she had been in the custody of Child Protective Services.

“It’s an accident,” he said of the crash. “It happened that way. Who knows why?

“What I think is she knows she’s done something wrong. Because she knows, and that’s what I feel. She feels bad for herself, but she killed her own sister.” 

After a gap in the livestream, Sanchez is seen leaning over the body of her sister, trying to shake her awake. She said she expected to spend the rest of her life in prison but does not care.

“This is the last thing I wanted to happen, OK? … Rest in peace, sweetie,” the teenager says.

“If you don’t survive, I’m so f****** sorry.”

Merced County sheriff Vern Warnke said another girl, aged 14, who was in the back seat of the car, survived with a leg injury.

The driver was wearing a seat belt but the two girls were not, the California Highway Patrol said.

Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter and remained in jail with bail set at 300,000 dollars. She is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

The livestream was recorded on Instagram and posted on Facebook by someone who had seen it.

Stockton resident Mary Hernandez said she saw the video there and re-posted it.

“People need to know these things can happen,” Ms Hernandez said, adding that she had received a range of responses from anger to gratitude.

“I mean no disrespect to their family for posting it,” she said.

Rob Carroll, a chief deputy in the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, said he had not yet seen the video but expected it would form a key piece of evidence.

“Drinking, driving and driving erratically – obviously those are poor choices,” he said.

Relatives have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for the funeral of Jacqueline.

The page says she was planning to celebrate her 15th birthday on Sunday.

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