Obdulia Sanchez says she live-streamed the aftermath of a crash that killed her sister last month to help raise money for the girl’s funeral expenses.
In a double-sided, four-page letter to Matt Mendes, a reporter for the Fresno station KGPE-TV, Sanchez said she knew she had more than 5,000 Instagram followers, and the video helped accomplish her goal.
“It was the only way my sister would get a decent burial,” she wrote. “I would never expose my sister like that. I anticipated the public donating money because my family isn’t rich.”
Sanchez’s 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline, was thrown from her older sister’s 2003 white Buick Century and killed July 21 in a rollover crash on the outskirts of Los Banos. Sanchez, whose family calls her “Lulu,” was live-streaming on Instagram while driving. The crash and immediate aftermath were captured on videos that since have gained national attention.
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Sanchez recorded herself standing over her sister’s body while talking into the camera on her phone, authorities have reported.
“This is the last thing I wanted to happen, OK? ... Rest in peace, sweetie,” the teen says in the recording. “If you don’t survive, I’m so (expletive) sorry.”
California Highway Patrol investigators have said she had a blood alcohol content of .106 after the crash. She’s pleaded not guilty to six felonies, including gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving. She remains in Merced County Jail on $560,000 bail. If convicted, Sanchez could face more than 13 years in state prison.
In a phone call and the letter to Mendes, Sanchez said she understands the public reaction to the live stream video.
“I look like a freaking horrible monster. That was not my intention at all,” she said.
Sanchez said she’s live streamed while driving before and that day there was no indication it would cause her to crash.
Her court-appointed attorney, Ramnik Samrao, has said there is reason to believe a worn tire and blow out caused Sanchez to lose control of the vehicle.
“We were perfectly freaking fine,” Sanchez said. “And next thing I know, we just start going left. We start going left, and I tried to stop the car, and then we flip over.”
Sanchez said she knew her sister was dead and called 911 twice.
“She’s like my mini-me. She’s like my best friend,” Sanchez said about Jacqueline. “She looks just like me. Anytime I look at her, it’s like I’m looking at myself. It makes me really sad that she’s gone.”
Sanchez hopes to return home to her grieving family and said she would visit Jacqueline’s grave every day.
Sanchez has many ideas for her future. She wants to dedicate a music album to her sister, including a song that warns teens about the dangers of texting and driving. She also wants to visit schools to share her story and discourage drinking and driving. She’d like to open a boxing gym with her father and create a clothing line.
“If I would’ve known that would happen that day, I would’ve never left the house, ever,” Sanchez said.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477