“It sounded like a bomb went off. I didn’t know what happened,” Anna Leyva, 41, said of the March 27 crash that resulted in an SUV crashing inside the bedroom of her apartment in the 21000 block of Golden Hills Boulevard.
Leyva and her two daughters, Madelyn, 11, and Abigail, 18 months, were sleeping inside the back bedroom of the apartment when a few minutes after 8 a.m., a driver crashed into her apartment.
According to a California Highway Patrol police report, David Gutierrez, 32, lost control of his Saturn SUV. Gutierrez's SUV first hit a 1975 red Chevrolet Camaro, owned by the next-door neighbor, Derek Franklin, according to the report.
Video surveillance of a different neighbor revealed Gutierrez's vehicle was traveling east at what appears to be a high rate of speed, losing control around the bend in the road before slamming into the Camaro, pushing it into a fence and into the exterior wall of the Leyva home before coming to rest inside the bedroom itself.
"It was a horrific scene, and I'm just glad to be alive," Anna Leyva said.
Rising just minutes before the collision, Anna Leyva said she checked on her sleeping infant before lying back down in a bed she was sharing with her 11-year-old daughter.
"The minute I put the blanket over my daughter and put my (cell) phone under my pillow, I closed my eyes and it all happened," Anna Leyva said.
Anna's husband and the girls' father, Yves Leyva, 41, was due to be home by 8 a.m. after working the night shift. However, he stopped by the store first to buy the family breakfast.
"Once I drove up to the house, I saw fire trucks, policemen and I didn't know what to expect," said Yves Leyva, who turns 42 on Thursday. "Everything was going so fast, it was like the scene of a movie. I couldn't focus."
Anna Leyva said that following the crash, she held onto the wall as best as she could with one hand as she tried to pull her daughter out from the debris with the opposite hand.
It was then that Anna Leyva said she smelled gasoline and grease, and started banging on the wall for her neighbor to help.
"I don't know how I found the strength," Anna Leyva said.
Madelyn was able to get the bedroom door open, and go for help. She suffered a bump on the head, and was later fitted for a neck brace after complaining of headaches and having a possible concussion.
"I thought it was a dream at first, thinking this can't be happening," said Madelyn, a sixth grader who is currently being homeschooled. "When the wall fell, I think I hit my head because I don't really remember much after that."
Anna Leyva suffered bumps and bruises, and has since experienced pain in her left arm, headache, nausea and vomiting.
"My baby was covered in glass and a piece a drywall," Anna Leyva said. "There was a wooden beam, that had it been an inch to the left or right, it would have hit her. I am so beyond blessed. I looked at the pictures and replayed it in my head. It could have been so much worse."
The 18-month old infant escaped serious injuries.
The Leyvas have since temporarily moved in with Anna's sister. However, they need to relocate to a new place as soon as possible due to lack of space.
They are currently sleeping on an air mattress, and the baby is sleeping in a older playpen.
The family has also not been allowed to remove belongings from their apartment, which was red tagged.
Asked what he will wish for before he blows out his birthday candles on Thursday, Yves said, "I am just happy to see my family in front me. I have everything I already need right here."
The California Highway Patrol and the Kern County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the accident, did not respond to requests for comment.
A GoFundMe page has been started for the Leyva family at https://gofund.me/dd57dbb0.