Mother of 5 killed after falling from party bus was days away from 30th birthday: 'It's a nightmare'

"She was a great soul, and she was somebody that you can count on," said the victim's sister.

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Monday, January 31, 2022
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Family members say Heather Garcia, a mother of five who was just about to turn 30, was dancing when she tripped and fell back on the door.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The family of a woman who died after falling from a party bus on a downtown Los Angeles freeway is struggling to understand how something like this could've happened.

Heather Garcia, 29, was celebrating her niece's birthday on Saturday.

Just before 3 a.m., officers with the California Highway Patrol responded to the northbound 101 Freeway and Los Angeles Street after receiving reports of a crash. Family members who spoke with Eyewitness News on Sunday say Garcia was dancing when she tripped and fell back on the door.

They say the door opened and sent Garcia out onto the freeway.

Investigators say that's when the 29-year-old was hit by a moving vehicle. The driver of that vehicle stayed at the scene and cooperated with authorities.

"It's just something that is a nightmare ... that doesn't happen. It should not happen," said Garcia's husband, Rafael Corral.

Corral, an Army veteran, told ABC7 Garcia was the love of his life and the mother of their five small children. He said she was about to celebrate her 30th birthday on Jan. 31.

"You expect when you pay for a service so that you don't drink and drive or do anything illegal ... you get there, somebody takes you there safe, and you're going to get back home safe because that's what you paid the service for," said Corral.

Meanwhile, family members are helping each other cope with their tremendous loss.

"She was a great soul, and she was somebody that you can count on," said Garcia's sister, Jellue Jaramillo. "A great mother ... definitely a great sister."

Meanwhile, Garcia's family have created a GoFundMe to help her children.

The incident remains under investigation. The CHP's Central Los Angeles office is asking anyone with information to call at (323) 343-0732.