OCEANSIDE (NEWS 8) - Co-workers, friends and family on Thursday held a vigil at the assisted living facility in Vista to honor one of the three woman killed in a car crash in Oceanside.
The Tuesday afternoon crash killed 74-year-old Rufina Arango Rodriguez of Oceanside, and her daughters, 40-year-old Petra Arango of Oceanside, and 56-year-old Eloina Arango of Mexico.
For the past several years, Petra had made an impact as a caregiver at the assisted living center Silver Oaks Country Estates in Vista. "She wasn't just a co-worker. She was family to us. It keeps me up at night thinking it could have been avoided. It is really sad to see a life go to waste over a bad decision, but Petra and her family did not deserve that," said Petra's co-worker, Melissa Villafana.
Many of Petra's co-workers were overcome with emotions. She was known to bring her 13-year-old daughter, Kelly, to work. "She would show up so happy, so energized everyday. There is no doubt in my mind she is in heaven. She is a beautiful person," said Raquel Munoz.
Three other family members were injured, including Petra Arango's 13- year-old daughter, Arango's father, 82-year-old Aquilino Arango Ojeda of Fallbrook, and Arango's husband, 43-year-old Rey David Velasco Herrera of Oceanside. The octogenarian and the girl were released from the hospital Wednesday, according to police, while an update on Herrera's condition was unavailable.
Mason Robert Fish, 19, was charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and faces felony and misdemeanor counts of DUI causing injury, possession of a controlled substance and driving without a license.
Fish faces 13 years in state prison if convicted as charged.
He entered a not guilty plea Thursday afternoon and had his bail upped from $602,000 to $800,000. He is due back at the Vista courthouse on March 27 for a readiness conference.
Family members are currently trying to raise $25,000 for funeral costs, with a GoFundMe page created for Remedios Arango, identified online as the brother and son of the deceased victims.
Petra's co-workers also created a GoFundMe page for anyone who wishes to help.