Car plunges into California Aqueduct, 2 killed and 1 rescued

HESPERIA, Calif. (AP) — A mother and one of her children were killed, a second child was rescued and a third was missing Friday after a car plunged into the California Aqueduct in the high desert city of Hesperia.

Divers searched unsuccessfully for the missing toddler in darkness after the Thursday night crash and returned to the canal after sunrise.

The search was suspended later in the day and expected to resume on Saturday.

The cause of the single-vehicle crash was under investigation.

An older child was found clinging to a float in the waterway and was rescued almost immediately after the accident, said Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

More than 440 miles long, the California Aqueduct is an open canal that carries water from northern rivers to farms and cities to the south.

The Volkswagen Beetle struck a guardrail before plunging into the aqueduct, which crosses under the main street in the Mojave Desert city 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Paramedics pronounced Hesperia resident Christina Eileen Estrada, 31, dead at the scene about an hour later, the coroner's office said. Her 3-year-old son, Jeremiah Robert Abbott , was taken to Desert Valley Hospital and pronounced dead later in the night.

Relatives at the scene identified the missing child as Noah, 2, and the rescued boy as Elijah, 10, the Victor Valley Daily Press reported (

Elijah was doing well at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said his uncle, Steven Abbott.

"We're just glad he's doing good and appears to be in good health," Abbott told the newspaper.

Another relative, Natalia Garcia, said the father of the children, Kevin Abbott, was having a hard time.

"He's been put in a position where he's now a single father, so we're looking for any support we can get," said Garcia, 19, of Pomona.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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