Three schoolgirls out trick-or-treating on Hallowe’en were mown down and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

The three girls, who were all aged thirteen, were crossing the road when they were hit; they were all clutching bags of sweets and dressed in Hallowe’en costumes. The road was busy with parents taking children trick-or-treating.

Paramedics were quickly on the scene

Paramedics were quickly on the scene

The vehicle that hit them and then fled the scene is described as a Honda CRV people carrier. Two of the girls were killed outright; paramedics who were quickly on the scene battled to save the third girl, but she also died at the scene. A witness, Jeff Evans, who was taking his daughter out to collect sweets, told reporters he heard “a big screech and a scream” as the girls were hit.

Police have not yet released the identity of the girls, but two of them were twin sisters and the police have said both families are “very distraught.”

Chief Carlos Rojas of the Santa Ana Police Department said: “Here is a night where they were supposed to be celebrating and having a good time, and it ends up in tragedy. It’s a horrible situation.”

There were no skid marks at the scene suggesting that the driver of the vehicle had not attempted to brake; although the speed limit on the road where the incident occurred is 35mph, police suspect the vehicle may have been travelling over 60mph. The girls were hit with such force that they were thrown 100ft by the impact.

A driver on the road followed the Honda and was able to lead police to a car park where it had been abandoned. Police suspect the car was stolen and are now searching for two males, a driver and a passenger.