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Father of girl born at 35 weeks after his wife was killed by DUI driver reveals struggle to conceive

The devastated husband of a 35-week pregnant woman who died after being struck by an alleged DUI driver in California revealed that the couple had tried for two years to have a child.

Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, 23, died after repeat DUI offender Courtney Pandolfi, 40, plowed into her and her husband James Alvarez as they took a walk in Anaheim on Tuesday evening.

Medical personnel was able to deliver her miracle baby girl, Adalyn Rose, by emergency cesarean section but the newborn is now fighting to survive and being monitored for brain damage at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Heartbroken Alvarez is praying that his daughter is healthy describing her as ‘the only thing I have left’.   

He is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife, who he says was ‘so excited’ to finally become a mother. 

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Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, 23, was taking a walk with her husband James Alvarez, pictured together above, in Anaheim on Tuesday evening when an alleged DUI driver struck, killing her. She was 35 weeks pregnant and her newborn baby girl is now fighting to survive

Adalyn Rose was delivered by emergency cesarean section after the accident. The newborn is fighting to survive and being monitored for brain damage at UC Irvine Medical Center

Adalyn Rose was delivered by emergency cesarean section after the accident. The newborn is fighting to survive and being monitored for brain damage at UC Irvine Medical Center

‘It’s like I’m living a nightmare and I’m hoping to wake up soon,’ Alverez told KTLA through tears on Wednesday.

‘But I’m accepting the reality is she’s gone. And my daughter is the only thing that I have left.’

He said that the couple had been out for a stroll on Tuesday evening on the advice of their doctor.

Courtney Pandolfi, 40, lost control of her Jeep. She was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder, DUI drugs causing bodily injury and driving on a suspended license

Courtney Pandolfi, 40, lost control of her Jeep. She was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder, DUI drugs causing bodily injury and driving on a suspended license

They had difficulties conceiving for two years and were taking every possible measure to ensure that their daughter was born healthy and safe.

Just three months ago, the couple had held a gender reveal party when they celebrated the arrival of their baby girl.

Yet their happy future was shattered when Pandolfi mounted the curb on Katella Avenue near Bayless Street, allegedly under influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Anaheim police.

Her white jeep barely missed Alvarez but he spoke with horror of being unable to pull his wife out of the way in time.

‘I was holding her hand. I was trying to pull her away towards me,’ he said.

‘We’ve been trying for two years, and finally, we’re blessed to have a beautiful princess, and we’re a month away from her birth,’ he added.

‘And all of a sudden, out of a second, my life changed.’

Alvarez said he is now concentrating on ensuring his daughter gets better and receives the medical attention she needs so as to keep a part of his wife with him.

‘I’m just praying that she is healthy. She’s the last thing I have from her,’ he said. 

Yesenia Lisette Aguilar who was 35 weeks pregnant was struck and killed by a suspected DUI driver on Tuesday night in Anaheim. Her husband said she was 'so excited' to be a mother

Yesenia Lisette Aguilar who was 35 weeks pregnant was struck and killed by a suspected DUI driver on Tuesday night in Anaheim. Her husband said she was ‘so excited’ to be a mother

Blood marks and debris are seen on the sidewalk where the fatal incident happened

Blood marks and debris are seen on the sidewalk where the fatal incident happened

The fatal incident occurred at 7:37pm on Katella Avenue and Bayless Street when a driver, later identified to be 40-year-old Courtney Pandolfi (above), lost control of her vehicle

The fatal incident occurred at 7:37pm on Katella Avenue and Bayless Street when a driver, later identified to be 40-year-old Courtney Pandolfi (above), lost control of her vehicle








The accident happened at 7:37pm Tuesday on Katella Avenue and Bayless Street in Anaheim, California. 

Mother-to-be Aguilar, who worked at Disneyland, was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center and initially listed in a critical condition before being pronounced dead.

Alvarez described Aguilar as ‘a beloved daughter, sister, wife, aunt and friend.’

A GoFundMe has been established in her honor that had raised more than $88,000 by Thursday morning.

‘We ask you to keep Adalyn Rose ( Yesenia’s daughter) and her family in your prayers,’ reads the page that will cover the young woman’s funeral, as well as medical costs.

Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, 23, died shortly after the incident in Anaheim Tuesday. She was eight months pregnant and medical personnel was able to safe her daughter Adalyn Rose. Husband James Alvarez revealed how the couple had struggled for two years to conceive

Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, 23, died shortly after the incident in Anaheim Tuesday. She was eight months pregnant and medical personnel was able to safe her daughter Adalyn Rose. Husband James Alvarez revealed how the couple had struggled for two years to conceive  

Husband James Alvarez revealed the couple had been trying for two years to have a baby

Husband James Alvarez revealed the couple had been trying for two years to have a baby 

The young couple were 'excited' to become parents after a long battle to conceive

The young couple were ‘excited’ to become parents after a long battle to conceive

Pandolfi, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries. Police say she appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

The 40-year-old, of Garden Grove, has two prior DUI offenses and was driving with a suspended license, police said.

Pandolfi was placed under arrest at the hospital for vehicular manslaughter and booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder, DUI drugs causing bodily injury and driving on a suspended license, police said.

They added that the suspect may also ‘face a murder charge’, pending a thorough investigation.

Pandolfi is being held at the Orange County Jail on $1million bail. 

A distressed man is comforted by police and bystanders at the scene. His identity is unclear

A distressed man is comforted by police and bystanders at the scene. His identity is unclear

Pandolfi, who was driving a white Jeep, jumped the curb and struck the expectant mother, 23, who was walking with her husband on the sidewalk, the Anaheim Police Department said

Pandolfi, who was driving a white Jeep, jumped the curb and struck the expectant mother, 23, who was walking with her husband on the sidewalk, the Anaheim Police Department said

Pandolfi, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries. Police say she appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. The 40-year-old, of Garden Grove, has two prior DUI offenses and was driving with a suspended license, police said

Pandolfi, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries. Police say she appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. The 40-year-old, of Garden Grove, has two prior DUI offenses and was driving with a suspended license, police said

Witness David Oroczo said he jumped out of his car and raced over to the scene of the crash after hearing a loud boom.

‘When I got over there, I noticed a lady on the ground who looked pregnant – her head was banged up,’ he said.

‘The husband was, I think, checking her pulse and when he checked, he screamed,’ Oroczo chillingly added.

Other witnesses from a nearby Taco Bell also rushed to the woman’s aid. Bystanders performed CPR on the mother-to-be until firefighters arrived on scene.

The area where the incident happened was closed while authorities examined the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the incident was asked to call the Anaheim Police Department at 714-765-1900. 

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