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Florida boy who turned 9-years-old on Christmas Day dies in wreck

Posted at 1:07 PM, Dec 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 11:48:32-05

FORT PIERCE, Florida — Fort Pierce police are investigating a vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a 9-year-old child Christmas morning.

According to police, the incident occurred just after 4:30 a.m. Monday. The child's father, identified as Julio Ruiz, was behind the wheel of his 2005 Toyota Corolla when he crashed into an unoccupied Ford F-250 that was parked off the road on the east side of Sunrise Boulevard.

Issac Santillan, who turned 9-years-old on Christmas, died at the scene. His 5-year-old sister was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in critical condition.

A woman was in the front right passenger seat and had to be extracted from the vehicle by St. Lucie County Fire Rescue. She is in critical condition at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

Julio Ruiz was also transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. He is in stable condition, according to Fort Pierce Police.

“It’s not something you’d expect to hear on Christmas morning," said Isaac's aunt, Cynthia Santillan. 

Police said Isaac died at the crash scene. 

His grandmother, Rosa Riviera, can't believe he's gone. 

“He was just a great kid," Riviera said. 
“He didn’t deserve this," Santillan said. 
“He was taken away from us far too soon," Riviera said. 

Isaac spent Christmas Eve with his aunt and grandmother. 

“We had dinner, we played a game," Santillan said. 

Then around 11:30 p.m. Sunday she dropped him off to his legal guardian, the boy's paternal grandmother.

“I told him happy birthday and gave him a big hug and that was it," Santillan said under tears. "The next morning I wake up and hear my nephew passed away.”
 
Police said Isaac was in the backseat with his 5-year-old sister while her father drove the car. 

Around 4:30 a.m., the car crashed into a parked pickup truck along Sunrise Boulevard. 

Robin Moody lives in the house next to the crash scene, and she heard the car approaching. 

“I heard a car come very fast on the road," Moody said. "I said to myself, 'He's not going to make that turn,' and about two seconds later I heard a huge crash. The crash was horrific you could feel it through your whole body."

Isaac's sister is at the hospital in critical condition. Her father is in stable condition and another female passenger is in critical condition. 

Isaac's family wants answers as to why the 9-year-old was in that car at 4:30 a.m.

“He wasn’t even supposed to be there," said Emlyn Benitez, a cousin of the family. "I mean, that was not his legal guardian.”
 
Isaac was supposed to celebrate his ninth birthday on Christmas, instead his family is mourning his loss. 

“He was so happy with his gifts," Santillan said. "He didn’t get to enjoy it. He didn’t get to enjoy his ninth birthday."
 
Police are continuing their investigation. They said speed was a factor in the crash.