Lake Elsinore couple killed in wrong-way crash leaves behind three children

The families of Ruth and Gedion Mbatha are raising money for their three children left behind.

Jaysha Patel Image
Thursday, March 23, 2023
IE couple killed in wrong-way crash leave behind 3 children
A Lake Elsinore couple were out celebrating a birthday when they were killed in a wrong-way crash. Loved ones are now raising money for the couple's three children.

CHINO HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Loved ones are stepping up to help three children after their parents were killed in a wrong-way crash on the 71 Freeway in Chino Hills.

The California Highway Patrol received multiple calls about a wrong-way driver Sunday on Highway 71, north of Chino Hills Parkway.

Four people were killed in the wrong-way crash that involved multiple vehicles.

Ruth and Gedion Mbatha, a Lake Elsinore couple with three children, were among those killed.

"They were the sweetest. I know people usually say this about people when they're gone, but they were just really, really sweet," said Karla Gibson, the couple's neighbor. "Always friendly, always smiling. I don't think I ever saw them in anything but a good mood."

Gibson organized a GoFundMe fundraiser for the couple's three children.

She says the children's aunt, who is Gedion's sister, will become the primary caregiver.

"Gedion was here from Russia. He went to school in Russia, and he worked as an aeronautical engineer," said Horelia Kuria, Gedion's sister. "He was a dedicated dad, he was committed to his family and he was a caring brother and caring friend to everyone that knew him."

"Same goes for Ruth. Ruth went to nursing school here, she was a registered nurse," Kuria said. "She was committed to her children."

Kuria has two children of her own and will now be responsible for all five children.

She says both Ruth and Gedion were out celebrating his birthday with friends and were struck and killed on their way back home.

Friends say seeing them right before they died felt almost like a farewell.

The community, friends and family have been gathering at the couple's home daily.

"I'm just reaching out to everyone. Let's help these kids. Let's keep the lights on for them. Let's help them go to college," Kuria said. "Let's pick up where the parents left because we can do it for them."

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