Family mourning youngest victim in fatal Texas crash
The Dalton community is mourning the loss of five people just days before Christmas. The youngest victim, Clara Arroyo, 16, was a freshman at Southeast Whitfield High School.
The Dalton community is mourning the loss of five people just days before Christmas.
They were killed in a crash in Texas Tuesday morning.
The youngest victim, Clara Arroyo, 16, was a freshman at Southeast Whitfield High School.
Clara celebrated her 16th birthday Saturday. She left for Mexico Monday to spend Christmas with her grandma, but her family tells Channel 3 they didn't want her to go because they had a feeling something was going to happen.
"She left so happy because it’s not like she didn’t want to go," Arroyo's sister, Julissa Rodriguez, said. "She wanted to go she wanted to go have fun."
Rodriguez says Clara was more than a sister; she was her best friend. The last time she saw Clara was in October, but she says the two spoke on the phone the day before Clara left for Mexico.
"I told her that I loved her and to take care, but I didn’t think I was going to say bye to her like that," Rodriguez, said.
The next day, Clara and four others were killed in a crash on a highway in Texas. The driver of the car went off the road, hit another car and their vehicle caught fire. Investigators are working to determine what caused the crash.
Rodriguez says her mother called her to tell her what happened.
"Once you hear your mom calling you screaming and you know your sister is in the road, all you can imagine is what happened," Rodriguez said. "She was screaming I want to die, I want to die. I don’t know what to do and I was just scared."
Clara's mother, Maragrita Alsaro, says her daughter didn't deserve to go that way and wishes that she didn't suffer. She says she just wants her daughter to be happy with God.
"In my mind, I’m not accepting that she’s not here," Alsaro said.
Rodriguez says Clara loved Christmas. She decorated her family's home and left presents under the tree before she left. Rodriguez says the Christmas lights in their home remind them of Clara.
"I tell my mom not to hate the holidays because it’s more like a memory that she just left behind, and every holiday on Christmas and on her birthday, it’s just something we’re going to have to remember," said Rodriguez.
Though Clara's presence is no longer felt, family members say they know Clara's spirit will live on forever.
The family is in the process of trying to bring Clara's remains home. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
Family and friends are trying to help with expenses.