An 18-year-old is accused of veering off the road Friday while driving drunk, killing her younger sister in the ensuing crash, all while livestreaming on Instagram.
Authorities say Obdulia Sanchez, from Stockton, California, was driving under the influence of alcohol around 6:40 p.m. when she lost control of the Buick and swerved across lanes, crashing through a barbed wire fence and overturning in a field, ejecting her sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, and another girl who sustained "major injuries," California Highway Patrol Sergeant Darin Heredia told BuzzFeed News on Sunday.
The two 14-year-old girls were sitting in the backseat and not wearing seat belts, according to a California Highway Patrol report.
Sanchez, who has more than 7,400 followers on Facebook and Instagram, is being held in the Merced County Jail on felony charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Before crashing, Sanchez had been recording herself singing along to music and flipping off the camera, capturing glimpses of the two younger teens in the back as she turned her phone from herself onto the empty road. The footage then goes blurry and red when the car swerves and screams and sounds of metal scratching can be heard.
Sanchez screams Jacqueline's name before she faces the camera while positioning it so that her sister's body can be seen lying in a field behind her.
Warning: Graphic content.
"I fucking love my sister to death. I don't give a fuck. We about to die. This is the last thing I wanted to happen to us but it just did," she says. "Jacqueline, please wake up. This is the last thing I wanted to happen... I killed my sister, but I don't care. I killed my sister. I know I'm going to prison, but I don't care. I'm sorry, baby. I'ma hold it down... rest in peace, sweetie."
CHP spokesman Wyatt Foster told BuzzFeed News on Monday that the graphic video was "absolutely" being used as evidence in the investigation and would be presented, along with the CHP report, to the Merced County District Attorney's Office.
Foster said that the CHP was working closely with the district attorney to see if Sanchez should face "more severe charges."
Authorities are in the process of determining the 18-year-old's exact level of intoxication, according to Foster. He said he was unable to disclose if Sanchez had a prior criminal record because that is "protected information."
The other 14-year-girl was transported to an undisclosed hospital for "major leg trauma," Foster said. He did not know what her current condition was.
Mary Hernandez, who recorded a copy of the video, told BuzzFeed News that Sanchez is a friend of a friend and when she heard about the footage, she recorded it from Instagram's Stories feature before it could disappear after 24 hours.
Hernandez said that Instagram did not remove the content and it had been up for 19 hours when she saw and recorded it.
"So many people kept saying 'What video? I wanna see it,'" so she posted the recording on her Facebook page because she "couldn't believe it was real."
"At first I was skeptical, but the more people reached out to me, then her cousin confirmed it was her," she said. "It's just so insane to believe that happened to girls from my city. It is for sure an eye-opener. I see people on their phones on social media all the time."
"I think this video can get a lot of people to think twice about using their phones while driving now," she added.
People in the community and on social media are shocked and horrified by the footage, Hernandez said.
"No one wanted to believe it, it was so crazy how desensitized and careless she seemed about someone as close to her as her sister," she noted. "Who in the right mind continues to record?"
She said the video got up to 700,000 views before Facebook took it down.
Before the crash, Hernandez says, Sanchez recorded herself on her Instagram story driving recklessly, swerving toward an oncoming car that was crossing in front of her while a younger girl waves her hands and yells from the passenger seat. Hernandez shared the video with BuzzFeed News.
Sanchez's sister, Jacqueline, was supposed to celebrate her quinceañera on Sunday. A GoFundMe page was set up to help with funeral expenses.
The teens were coming from the Fresno area that evening, but Heredia said police do not know what they had been doing previously or where they were going.
"They were very uncooperative after the arrest and [Sanchez] was screaming about her sister," he said.
The Merced Sun-Star was there after the deadly crash and recorded video of the scene and Sanchez being taken away in an ambulance.
Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Brianna Sacks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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