DES MOINES- Three days after a severe three car collision, a 12-year-old victim has died from her injuries.
Des Moines Police confirmed Lea Phann, of Des Moines, passed away on Sunday.
She along with her grandfather, Sos Phann and sister Kholey Phann, were riding in an SUV along SE 6th Street. A speeding car driven by Fernando Lopez Aguilar failed to stop on Bell Avenue, hit a truck and sent the truck into the SUV.
Five people were rushed to the hospital. Sos Phann remains in critical condition.
Monday morning, a memorial for Lea sits along the side of the road, balloons blowing in the wind.
“We just joked around in class and just had fun together,” said Phann’s sixth grade teacher Elizabeth Treinen. Treinen said Phann would call her “Mrs. Tortilla” and that name stuck throughout the school year.
Phann was part of Treinen’s first class she ever taught.
“For a first year teacher and you have your first set of students…they have a special place in your heart,” said Treinen.
She said Phann loved smiling and softball. Grief counselors were available at Brody Middle School where Phann had just started seventh grade.
“It’s hard to see other students cope with it when you know who her friends were and classmates,” said Treinen.
A GoFundMe has been set up in hopes of helping the Phann family with expenses.
“It makes your heart hurt knowing that can happen. It reminds you how precious life can be.”
Des Moines Police arrested and charged Aguilar with two counts of reckless driving, homicide by reckless driving, operating without a license and no insurance. Aguilar had an additional charge of child endangerment-no injury because he had an eight month old infant in the car at the time of the crash.
Police say impairment was not a factor but excessive speed is likely the main cause of the accident.
Aguilar is in Polk County Jail on a $310,000 bond.