Young mother dies after jumping out of minivan on highway

A mother-of-two died early Monday when she jumped out of a moving minivan traveling about 40mph on a California highway, police said.

Dezirae Mendoza, 20, mother to two young sons ages four and nine months, was killed after suffering injuries when she opened the vehicle door heading down Imperial Highway and exited the car. Mendoza was taken to the hospital and later died, according to Brea police.  

Two passengers told police Mendoza was in the vehicle around 1:30 a.m. Monday when she jumped out while the car was in motion. The driver, who fled the scene, stopped the vehicle shortly after and two passengers got out.

“Obviously, we have a few questions we’re trying to ask… and that may determine whether or not there’s any criminal culpability in this case or whether this was merely just a simple tragedy that someone left a moving vehicle and sustained some fatal injuries from that,” Brea Police Department Lt. Adam Hawley said in a Facebook video about the incident.

Police later located the driver at his home and took him into custody. He has been released pending further investigation.