BREA, Calif. (KABC) -- A mother of two died early Monday morning after she jumped out of a minivan that was traveling about 40 mph on a street in Brea, according to investigators.
The bizarre incident was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. in the area of Imperial Highway and Laurel, a spokesperson for the Brea Police Department said. After the woman jumped, the vehicle stopped, two other women got out and the man behind the wheel drove away.
The injured woman was transported to a hospital, where she died, authorities said. She was described as being in her 20s; authorities did not immediately release her name. Family members identified her as Dezirae Mendoza, who they said lived in Anaheim with her father and two young sons - ages 4 years and 9 months.
"There's no reason why any parent should have to bury their children," her cousin, Frank Madrid, said.
The two other passengers of the tan-colored minivan were cooperating with investigators. The driver was later identified and located by police. It was unclear if he faced possible citation or arrest.
"(The two women) saw the victim open the vehicle and then leave from the vehicle and fall out onto the roadway," Lt. Adam Hawley said. "It's not normal behavior for someone to leave a moving vehicle under these kind of circumstances and that causes concern. Obviously we have a few questions that we're trying to ask and get to the bottom of."
The reason why Mendoza jumped was unknown. Her family told Eyewitness News that she was happy, loved her children and was working to better her life. Her family members said they do not know the two women and man involved in the incident.
Mendoza's family also said she texted a family member before the incident, saying she didn't know the man driving the vehicle and saw a bat, gloves and tape in the van. These details were not confirmed by police.
A GoFundMe page was set up in honor of Mendoza.
"She was a happy woman. She loved her kids. She was striving to do better in her life for her kids - to do the best for them. She had goals and ambitions. She was chasing them down, so there really is no answer right now for the family on why this happened," Madrid said.
Authorities said they concluded the questioning of the driver of the vehicle and released him. They added that they are waiting on the coroner's report and toxicology results that could take six to eight weeks.
All lanes were reopened on Imperial Highway after an hourslong closure at the scene.