LAPD raises $8K to help mother of 4 who survived hit-run in South Los Angeles

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Thursday, December 28, 2017
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Los Angeles police officers gave a mother of four $8,000 to pay her rent and hope to raise more to help her after she was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In a tiny one bedroom apartment in South Los Angeles, Maria Torrez and her four children are barely getting by.

The single mom is in a wheelchair after she was hit by a driver, who dragged her under his car and sped off. It happened on Nov. 12 around 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Florence and Dalton avenues.

Authorities said Torrez was crossing Denker Street in the crosswalk while she was with her children when the suspect hit her. Her 11-year-old son was also struck, but he wasn't dragged under the vehicle.

A little more than a month later and Torrez still cannot sleep through the night.

"At the moment, I don't even have use of my hands. I can barely move them. I have no idea how I'm going to continue to feed my family or help support them," she said in Spanish.

Torrez broke her legs, wrists, arms, back, rib cage and collar bone when she was hit. Witnesses told police that as the suspect sped off, he stuck his middle finger out the driver's window.

"I remember just crossing the street when I was about halfway through. I remember just opening my eyes and seeing my children telling me, 'Mommy, please don't go to bed. Please don't close your eyes. Don't go to sleep. Don't go to sleep,'" she said.

She hasn't been able to work and her young children are her caretakers. They carry her up the stairs, feed her and then take care of themselves. When asked by detectives what they wanted for Christmas, they simply asked for rent money so they wouldn't be evicted.

"I don't think anybody with half a heart can even hear the story and not be touched by it," Capt. Shannon Paulson said.

On Wednesday, the officers who have been there since the start revealed they'd raised more than $8,000 for Torrez to pay her rent. When she heard the news, Torrez couldn't speak.

"I've never had that much money, so I want to make sure I pay all of my debts. The medical bills and rent," Torrez said.

Officer Erika Gonzalez hopes more people will give so she can continue to help Torrez so that she can help herself.

"Hopefully this will kind of give her peace of mind that her children have somewhere to live and they don't have to worry about at least rent for a while," Gonzalez said.

A GoFundMe has been set up and if you would like to donate, you may do so by going to

Authorities said the suspect, who was in an older model black Honda, is still on the loose.