WINTON -- After the tragic death of 13-year-old Monica Cazares just a week ago, several of her friends and family pulled together to put on a fundraising car wash over the weekend to help with funeral costs.
A steady flow of cars pulled into the parking lot of a taco shop on the corner of Santa Fe Drive and Winton Way on Saturday and Sunday, bringing in more than $1,000.
The site of the fundraiser wasn't far from where Cazares was killed Oct. 17, when she was hit by a car after running into the street.
Cazares was running northeast along Winton Way, south of Bridget Court, at about 7:30 p.m. when she went out into the road and was struck by a 2009 Nissan Altima, driven by 25-year-old Samantha Miller, according to the California Highway Patrol.
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Miller tried to avoid hitting the girl by applying her brakes and turning her car to the right, but the right front of the car hit the teen, who was thrown northeast and landed along the curb north of Bridget Court, according to the CHP.
Despite paramedics' efforts to resuscitate her, Cazares was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neither Miller nor her 7-year-old passenger claimed to be injured, and alcohol wasn't suspected to be a factor in the accident, according to the CHP. No arrests were made.
Rosa Lagunas, the mother of Cazares' friend, Jazmine, was helping at the car wash over the weekend, and said the event made the kids feel better, despite having lost their friend in such a sudden and heartbreaking manner.
"It's kind of like therapy for them in their own way because they're out here together having fun, and they're doing it for a good cause," she said Sunday, with an armful of towels in her hand. "The kids are out doing their part."
The money raised should help take some of the weight off the shoulders of Cazares' father -- who's a single dad of six, Lagunas said. Some people even skipped the car wash and just gave a donation.
Alfredo Gutierrez, 12, held a sign to draw in drivers to the car wash Sunday.
He said helping raise money at the car wash made him feel a little better after the death of his friend.
"She was a nice person," he said.
A service for Cazares is planned for Wednesday.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.