Based on statements in the original 911 call, the investigators believed they had identified the driver in this pedestrian fatality as the child’s grandmother, Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara. However, when they initially spoke with her, she denied being involved.
Gilma lives at another house in the same neighborhood (1291 Dowry Drive). Officers found a yellow Hummer in her driveway. The investigators secured a search warrant in an attempt to locate any evidence on or inside her vehicle. What the officers and Crime Scene Unit found directly conflicted with Gilma’s previous statements.
Gilma was interviewed again. Based on her second interview, the investigators learned that she had struck the toddler as she was backing out of the driveway of 1005 Memory Lane. She did not know that the child was behind her SUV. After the collision, Gilma carried the child inside the home and then got back inside her vehicle and traveled to her house. She left her vehicle in her driveway and walked back to the scene.
The toddler, Valeria Leiba (23 months), died as a result of her injuries.
Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara (age 44, Lawrenceville) was arrested at the scene and charged with Vehicular Homicide, Hit and Run, Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer, and No License. She was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday, March 21 shortly before 8pm. (Please contact the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office for booking information, photos, and prior arrests.)
There are not enough words to help bring solace to the victim’s family during such a tragic loss. We want the family to know that many people in Gwinnett and the surrounding communities are thinking of them during this difficult time.
Press release from Gwinnett County Police Department
The Gwinnett County Police Department reports that the Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the death of a (nearly) 2-year old girl after she was struck in front of her house. The incident occurred in front of 1005 Memory Lane (unincorporated Lawrenceville) shortly after 4pm.
“When officers and paramedics arrived on scene, the girl was immediately transported to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville. The girl died as a result of her injuries,” Cpl. Michelle Phihera, public information officer with GCPD said in a press release. “When officers arrived to the scene, the driver and the vehicle were not there. Once they investigated the scene further, they found the person who they believe is the driver.”
Phihera said investigators are hearing conflicting information about what type of vehicle is involved. Her immediate family went to join her in the hospital and investigators are still trying to figure out what happened.
“There is evidence of the collision in the roadway and in the driveway of the home. Investigators are continuing to search for further evidence and information to determine the cause of this tragic incident,” Phihera said. “Incidents involving the death of a very young child are always difficult for the community and law enforcement. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they deal with this tragic loss.”