Car crashed into apartment, Fresno police find car theft ring

FRESNO, Calif.

                  |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

It happened at an apartment complex on Butler Avenue and Eleventh Street in southeast Fresno.

Detectives are still searching for the driver and passenger after they ran away from the accident scene. Officers say the two were squatters who used a vacant apartment as their home base to commit crimes.

A stolen maroon explorer came to a crashing halt Friday night when police say the driver got the gas and brake pedals confused. The violent impact woke up family members inside the apartment.

Witness, Stephanie Hernandez said, "It was like so fast, like it was in a blink of an eye. When it came the whole side of the house was missing and it just like pshhhewww. I was saying ohh my god!"

The vehicle missed two-year-old Savannah and four-year-old Priscilla by just a few feet. Both were asleep at the time. Family members and witnesses watched the entire scene unfold and say a man was sitting next to the female driver.

Witness, Kate Lingarza said, "The other boy that was there with them, just hit the gas and she just lost control and because she said she didn't know how to drive. So she hit the back and she just took off running."

The hit and run investigation took another turn when police learned the suspects had been living illegally inside a nearby apartment. They found two more stolen cars parked in the car port.

Sgt. Robert Dewey said, "They have been known to sometimes stay in vacant apartments behind us. Without the owner's permission of course and that they are related to all three of the cars that we found to be stolen."

The destruction these suspect's caused left this apartment so badly damaged, firefighters had to prop up the roof to keep it from collapsing. The family will have to find somewhere else to live.

The Red Cross is helping that family with housing accommodations. Police are looking for the man and woman who got away.

If you have any information in this case, you're urged to contact Fresno Police.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.