ENCINO (CBSLA) — A local family is devastated after a wife, mother and beauty queen died in a brutal hit and run crash.
At a memorial service for his wife Tuesday night, Evgeny Lavrentev was trying to stay strong as family and friends gathered to comfort one another and remember Yana Lavrenteva's life.
"We came here to just pray for her soul," said Lavrentev. "We have to learn how to live now without her."
The couple was dancing on Saturday night at a friend's birthday party in Encino. Later on that evening around 11:50, Yana and some of her girlfriends wanted to hang out and talk so they decided to walk across the street to find a quieter place. When they were within a marked crosswalk on Ventura Boulevard, Yana was hit by a speeding car going eastbound.
"The driver, still we don't know who, just hit her. And it was like, he stole her, her stole her from us," said Lavrentev.
Yana's friends and witnesses describe the car as a possible silver Toyota 4-Runner, 1996 to early 2000.
As police look for clues and surveillance video to identify the driver, Evgeny still hasn't told their 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter about their mom.
"We were a happy family. We spent time together. I don't want to hurt too much my kids yet," said Lavrentev.
Evgeny says his beautiful 30-year-old wife was the best mom who worked as a speech therapist for children with autism. She was also working on getting her master's degree.
The grieving husband says he has no words for the person responsible for his pain. But he made sure Yana heard his last words.
"When the doctor turned off the life support for her, I promised her to keep the memory of her all of my life," said Lavrentev. "I promised her I'll do my best with the kids."
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