On the morning of September 28, a 14-year-old student at San Bernardino High School was making her way to class on foot. As she made her way across a marked crosswalk, an unidentified 2000 Chevy Suburban smashed into her. The victim, Jade Maldonado, was severely injured near Glasgow Avenue and Pacific Street, but the driver immediately fled the scene without checking on the child.
The youngster was rushed to a local hospital, but she was killed by the collision. Investigators asked the public for tips regarding the incident, and they quickly determined the Chevy was tan-colored and travelling at about 40 to 50 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Nearby witnesses described the driver as a heavy-set Adult Hispanic or possibly African-American woman who was wearing eyeglasses and had brown hair. Witnesses confirmed that the suspect never stopped to check on the child before driving away.
Police eventually located the vehicle and traced it back to the owner. The 55-year-old San Bernardino resident, Charlene Larue Welch, was taken into police custody after voluntarily arriving at the station to make a statement on October 8th. California Highway Patrol officers charged Welch with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and hit and run causing death. The suspect’s bail has been set at $100,000, and her preliminary arraignment is scheduled for October 10.
Police do believe that one of Welch’s friends hid the vehicle and made repairs to it while investigators were searching for it. Despite this, police do not suspect the accomplices of aiding or abetting at this time.