Boyfriend of Pasadena shoplifting suspect accused of causing deadly wreck speaks out

The boyfriend of a woman accused of shoplifting from Walmart and causing a deadly wreck while trying to escape is speaking out
December 16, 2013 3:04:17 PM PST
A mother killed by a suspected shoplifter, and it happened with her young daughter in the car. Now we're hearing from the victim's husband and also the suspect's boyfriend, who says he first heard about the deadly wreck watching TV.

The tragic chain of events started at the Pasadena Walmart.

The victim's husband says his family's very emotional right now. The suspect's boyfriend, Hernan Escalante, says he's having a hard time believing this tragedy happened over a few stolen toys.

"She took the keys when I was asleep," Escalante said.

Hernan Escalante tells me he's having a tough time right now. The man says he owns the white pickup truck that was involved in Sunday morning's fatal crash on Fairmont and National Drive in Pasadena.

The crash, police say, left Anita Benton, of Baytown, dead and her teenage daughter injured.

Escalante told me his girlfriend was the one driving the truck. He says she took it without his knowledge.

"In the morning I saw on the news, it was my truck," Escalante said.

According to Pasadena police the 28-year-old woman driving the pickup ran a red light after shoplifting from Walmart=.

Investigators say security spotted her with a bag full of stolen merchandise, including 'Hello Kitty' toys and undergarments. They say she ran to the pickup after being confronted and assaulting security.

"Has she mentioned having any financial problems that would make her go to Walmart to steal toys for Christmas?" we asked Escalante.

"No, no. I don't know," he said.

Police say they're moving forward with intoxication manslaughter charges against the accused shoplifter. The victims' grieving loved ones are calling the woman's actions senseless.

Escalante says worried, too.

"The point is, she took the truck -- she did. I don't want to be in trouble," Escalante said.

When we spoke with the victim's husband, he said the family was waiting for their daughter to be discharged. He says the doctors want to make sure she has not lingering internal injuries before releasing her.

Find Demond on Facebook at ABC13DemondFernandez or on Twitter at @demondfernandez

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