The girls were struck as they walked along a rural San Bernardino County road Saturday night, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The victims are identified as Lucerne Valley residents Daytona Bronas, 12, Sandra Mizer, 13, and Willow Sanchez, 11.
A fourth girl, Natalie Coe, 14, lost a leg and has life-threatening injuries, her mother told KNBC-TV. She is in the ICU at a local hospital, “fighting for her life,” Lucerne Valley Unified School District Superintendent Peter Livingston said to CNN.
Bronas and Coe were in wheelchairs. Sanchez had just returned after a year away. The other girls attended Lucerne Valley Middle High School, according to Livingston.
The four girls were on Camp Rock Road at Rabbit Springs Road in Lucerne Valley when they were hit after 10:19 p.m. The driver and passenger of a white 2002 Chevrolet Silverado hit them from behind and then fled the scene on foot. The CHP says it is unclear if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash and the investigation is ongoing.
“We’re still trying to figure out who was actually driving that Chevy Silverado,” said CHP Officer Ramon Duran to KABC. “They obviously knew what they did and they made the decision to flee from the scene instead of rendering aid to those four juveniles and that is just mind-blowing that somebody would do that.”
The CHP has recovered a pickup truck. Witnesses said the driver and passenger got out and looked at the bodies before running away.
“This is a horrific tragedy, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District is in shock at this terrible event,” Livingston said to CNN. “We are calling for whoever did this to turn themselves in. Anyone who runs from the scene of an accident like this is not human and needs to brought to justice.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the families to help with funeral expenses. All money will go directly to the families.
The CNN Wire and The Associated Press contributed to this report