Somber vigil honors father killed in chaotic hit-and-run crash at Pomona taco stand

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Sunday, October 16, 2022
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A somber vigil honored a 52-year-old father of 4 who was killed when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a taco stand in Pomona.

POMONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A somber vigil was held Saturday night in honor of a 52-year-old father of four who was killed when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a taco stand in Pomona.

Twelve other people were injured in the Friday night crash that claimed the life of Gilberto Cazares Payan.

Payan's wife consoled their 8-year-old son at the vigil, which included prayers amid intermittent rain.

Robert Sanchez, a friend of Payan, said the victim was visiting the taco stand to pick up dinner when the driver slammed into the stand's pop-up tent, scattering chairs and tables.

"I feel so sad and real bad because he left four sons (and) his wife," Sanchez said.

The crash happened just before 7:45 p.m. in the area of West Holt Avenue and Dudley Street, near Kiwanis Park, according to the Pomona Police Department.

Payan was pronounced dead at the scene by firefighter-paramedics.

Twelve others were hospitalized, three of them with critical injuries, police said.

The driver, a 26-year-old Pomona woman, ran from the crash site but turned herself into police just before 11 p.m. She was booked on suspicion of two felonies, police said in a statement: vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and hit-and-run with death/injury.

"I don't know why she did it and I'm not here to judge her," said Candi Garcia, a neighbor of Payan and his family. "I'm sorry for her too and for her family because I don't know her situation. I don't know what she was doing, I don't know what she was thinking."

The suspect has not been publicly identified.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to police.