2 families, sheriff's office devastated by boy's death

Eric Dunn says his 3-year-old son, Elijah, was his right arm and an amazing child. The boy was killed in a suspected DUI crash last Friday in San Ramon where the driver is the wife of a sheriff's deputy.

SAN RAMON (BCN) - Two families and the sheriff's office are devastated since a crash killed a 3-year-old boy Friday in San Ramon, an Alameda County sheriff's spokesman said Sunday.

Elijah Dunn died in a crash on northbound Interstate Highway 680 around 6:20 p.m. and a woman married to an Alameda County sheriff's deputy was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Sgt. Ray Kelly would not release the name of the deputy but said sheriff's officials are thinking about both families. "We're devastated," Kelly said. "We're sad. This is horrible. Tragic. Many of us are parents. This hits very close to home."

California Highway Patrol officers arrested 39-year-old Pleasanton resident Yarenit Liliana Malihan after the crash on Highway 680 near Bollinger Canyon Road.  

On Monday, Elijah's father, Eric Dunn Sr. spoke out about his son, calling him his "right arm" and an "amazing child". 

The children's mother, Cryastal Manoiki, was taken to John Muir Medical Center with major injuries and is still recovering. Officials say she's made enough progress where doctors may transfer her to the Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek either Monday or Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, her husband grieves and demands justice for his son. 

"Everywhere I went, he was just like my right-hand man, my little shadow. He was everything to me. We were so close," said Dunn. 

On Friday the mother and her three children were driving in a black 2007 Toyota Camry when it ran out of gas. She was parked on the shoulder of the highway when 12-year-old Eric Jr. called his dad and asked him to bring them gas. About two minutes later, Malihan's white 2008 Toyota Sequoia crashed into them, rear-ending them, CHP officials said.

The children including Elijah, his 1-year-old sister and his 11-year-old brother were taken to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. Elijah died at the hospital, according to CHP officials.

Investigators concluded the small children in the Camry were secured in child safety seats and the other occupants were wearing seatbelts, CHP officials said.

Malihan was treated for minor injuries at San Ramon Regional Medical Center and booked into the county jail.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office sent a statement that reads in part: "Words cannot express how deeply saddened we are about the tragic death of Elijah Dunn." It continues, "Drunk driving is a selfish and irresponsible crime."

Sgt. Kelly said sheriff's officials are making sure the deputy's family has the support they need such as counseling and peer support as deputies send out their thoughts to the boy's family.

"We're thinking of them and we will as we move forward," Kelly said.

But the Dunn family is incensed that the DUI suspect is already bailed out of jail. 

A gofundme page has been set up to help Elijah's family with living expenses, loss of income and the financial burdens of Elijah's death.

The page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/elijah-dunn.

About $47,600 had been donated as of 6:30 p.m. Monday. 

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