Darwin Almeida was walking with his mother, who was carrying his 1-year-old sister. They were crossing the street around 6:30 p.m. when a car peeled out of the Mariscos Ensenada Restaurante and ran a stop sign, hitting the family.
The 2-year-old was pulled under the car. He later died at UC Irvine Medical Center. The mom and sister are expected to recover.
The suspect fled the scene, but witnesses were able to get the license plate number.
Police found the vehicle at a mobile home nearby and arrested 23-year-old Angel Perez. They say Perez admitted he was the driver and failed field sobriety tests.
Police say Perez does not have a driver's license, and he and his passenger had been drinking at the restaurant.
"Between the two of them they were served 24 12-ounce beers," said Anthony Bertagna from Santa Ana Police. "Now who consumed how much? That we haven't got so far."
The family was going to visit their father at the tire shop across the street when they were struck.
"I was inside and I go out, when I go out a girl was there, she had a kid. I went inside and took my phone and I called police," said Juan Martinez, who works with the father and witnessed the incident.
"It's a friend. I know him for a long time, too sad," said Martinez.
People who live in the neighborhood left behind candles for a makeshift memorial. It is a tragedy they say that could have been prevented.
"I am super mad," said Santa Ana resident Raul Cuevas. "I don't even know why people drink and drive. Maybe hopefully that will be an eye opener for a lot of people."
People in the neighborhood will be holding a car wash to raise money for the family on Sunday at the KFC on Harbor Boulevard and Mcfadden Avenue.
Correction: It was initially reported that the toddler was 3 years old not 2.