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California mom, 20, dies after jumping from moving van

Dezirae Mendoza, 20, was killed when she jumped from a moving car on a California highway, police and family said.

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A mother-of-two early Monday died when she jumped out of a moving van traveling about 40 mph on a California highway, police said.

Dezirae Mendoza, 20, a mother of two young sons, ages four and nine months, was killed after suffering injuries when she opened the car door post of Imperial Highway and leave the car, family members told KTLA. Mendoza was taken to the hospital and later died, according to Brea police.

Two passengers told the police, Mendoza was in the car around 1:30 a.m. Monday when she jumped out while the car was in motion. The driver, who fled the scene, stopped the car shortly after and the two passengers got off.

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“Obviously we have a few questions that we seek to answer questions… and that can determine whether or not there is a criminal negligence in this case or that this is just a simple tragedy that someone to the left of a moving vehicle and a persistent number of fatal accidents of that,” the Brea Police Department Lt. Adam Hawley said in a Facebook video about the incident.

The police later located the driver at his home and took him into custody. He was released pending further investigation.

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Mendoza’s family told ABC Eyewitness News that she texted a family member before the incident, she says that she did not know that the man driving the minibus, and saw a bat, gloves and tape in the car. Police can not confirm this data.

“She was a lucky woman,” cousing Frank Madrid said. “She loved her children. She was striving to do better in her life for her children – to do the best for them. She had goals and ambitions. She was chasing them down, so there is really no answer at this time for the family on the reason why this happened.”

It is unclear whether alcohol or drugs were involved, or the relationships between the Mendoza, the other passengers and the driver.

An autopsy is performed to a “real holistic picture of what happened.”

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter via @bykatherinelam

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