A California mother of five died during a fall from a party bus as she celebrated her 30th birthday with family and friends, shattered relatives said.
Heather Garcia, 29, was dancing on a party bus at about 3 a.m. Saturday when she fell onto the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles and was struck by an oncoming vehicle, CBS Los Angeles reported.
The mom — who has five kids between the ages of 1 and 10 — was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
Garcia, who was set to turn 30 on Monday, was letting loose on the party bus with friends and relatives, including her niece, who was also celebrating her birthday.
“They went out, got the party bus and based on the information I got, she was dancing and she fell … and that was it,” Garcia’s brother, Juan, told reporters.
The door of the party bus opened when Garcia fell into it, her brother recalled.
“I don’t know how the door opened,” he continued. “Nobody knows how the door opened. The door shouldn’t have opened up.”
Garcia is survived by her husband, Rafael Corral, and the couple’s five young children.
“What I thought would be a fun night out for her turned into a tragic ending for us,” Corral wrote in an online fundraiser. “She had a huge heart, always lending a hand to anyone who needed it … She was my best friend, my rock, she kept it together for me and our kids.”
Corral, an Army veteran, said he’s unsure how he’ll continue with the love of his life now gone.
“I need help to give her the burial that she deserves as I was not prepared for a loss in such a tragic way,” Corral wrote. “I am also left with so many other expenses and I will now be a mom and dad to our five children.”
Garcia was also celebrating her niece’s birthday on Saturday before the night turned tragic, the grieving husband told KABC.
“It’s just something that is a nightmare,” Corral said. “You expect when you pay for a service so that you don’t drink and drive or do anything illegal … you get there, somebody takes you there safe, and you’re going to get back home safe because that’s what you paid for.”
The driver of the vehicle that fatally struck Garcia stayed on the scene to cooperate in the ongoing investigation, KABC reported. No charges in the incident had been announced as of late Sunday.