Liduvina and Santos Zinzun Sr. sat silently Friday in the living room of their apartment in Orange as a relative recounted the accident that claimed the life of the couple’s only child in the driveway just outside their door.
Less than 24 hours before, 22-month-old Santos Zinzun Jr. was run over by a van backing out of the driveway, which serves the small eight-unit apartment complex tucked on tiny South Hamlin Street off East Chapman Avenue.
The driveway had doubled as a play area for the children living in the apartments, said Rosalea Perez, an aunt who spoke for the distraught couple.
Liduvina, 25, left the apartment about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to be with her husband, Santos Sr., 27, a worker at a carpet-pad factory who was at a hospital undergoing tests for a head infection.
Their son was left in the care of another aunt, Perez said, who took him outside to wave goodby to his mother and to play with the neighborhood children.
Before the aunt could react, Santos Jr. walked behind a large van as it began backing out of the driveway.
“A lot of the neighbor children were screaming at (the driver) to slow down,” Perez said in Spanish. The aunt taking care of the baby screamed,” 'Wait! Wait!’ But he kept backing up,” Perez added.
The aunt who had been at the scene was too distraught to talk Friday, Perez said.
The van driver was identified by police as Facundo Rosas, 19, of Orange.
Orange Police Sgt. Timm Browne said no charges are going to be brought against Rosas.
“There were five or six other children in the immediate area,” Browne said. “They were playing around and the aunt was trying to watch everyone. Rosas got in his van and proceeded out slowly and hit” the toddler.